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Volunteer Emergency Services Play Vital Role in Small Towns

Rob Schmidt is no stranger to small-town Iowa and the importance of being involved in your community. Watching his father as a Volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) growing up, Rob was exposed to the life of an emergency volunteer at a young age. In 2011, he took it a step further and joined the Thornton Volunteer Fire Department.

“The number of volunteers in small-town fire departments are really low right now, and it was something I wanted to step up into.”

A farmer of the Iowa variety – hogs, corn and soybeans – he’s had his fair share of close calls for combine fires, and Rob says one of the best things you can do is keep an updated fire extinguisher easily accessible during harvest.

“Ideally, everything is dry when you’re in the fields, and it doesn’t take much for something to spark because of all the moving parts. Fire extinguishers are a must-have during harvest. You hope to never use it, but in case of an emergency, preparation is the best prevention.

Rob also pointed out that if there is any question of whether or not the fire extinguisher is charged, buying new is best to ensure the safety of you and your crop.

Since 2011, Rob has moved out of the Thornton Fire District, but you can still find him heading out with Thornton Fire and Rescue when duty calls.

“Volunteer emergency services play such vital roles in small towns. Having enough people on the crew could potentially mean the difference between life and death, and I want to do what I can to affect that positively.”