TORRINGTON – The Torrington Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the other departments in Goshen County, received a windfall of an important resource from an unlikely source this week.
On Friday morning, a red Budweiser truck pulled into the parking lot at TVFD and began unloading thousands of cans of water for local firefighters to stockpile and use on emergency calls. It was just the first shipment, but over the coming weeks the TVFD and volunteer departments from Yoder, Lingle, Fort Laramie, LaGrange, Hawk Springs, Veteran, Prairie Center and Jay Em will split 22 pallets – or 2,156 cases – of water from the Anheuser-Busch brewing company.
According to TVFD Chief Lance Petsch, the water is a necessary resource for firefighters.
“With dwindling budgets, and fire stuff is expensive and our budgets aren’t getting much bigger, any time you have a fire you’re going to need water for people,” he said.
“You’ve seen our gear and how heavy it is. Even if it’s cold out, you’re sweating like crazy so you have to stay hydrated or you’re going to have medical issues. We go through a lot of water.”
The departments received the water through Anhueser-Busch’s Emergency Drinking Water For Wildland Firefighters program. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, Anheuser-Busch has a long history of halting beer production to can water during emergencies. The company, which operates 23 breweries across the United States, teamed up with the NVFC to deliver one million cans of water to volunteer firefighters.
Petsch submitted the application that netted 51,744 12-ounce cans for local departments. He heard about the program during a meeting with other fire chiefs from around the state, and decided to look into it.
“I came back from that meeting and thought about it,” Petsch said. “I talked with the other departments and said I would do the application, but I wanted to get water for every department in the county. That was how that all got started.”
Canned water has a shelf-life of 365 days from the packaging date, according to the NVFC website. Anheuser-Busch will replenish the expired stock.
The TVFD is one of only three departments in Wyoming to take advantage of the program so far, along with the Goose Valley Fire Department and Laramie County Fire District No. 3.
Petsch said the TVFD usually goes through a pallet of water each year, and the two-and-a-half pallets the TVFD received from Anheuser-Busch should last the department for a little over two years.
“Some of the small departments just don’t have the funds where they can go out and purchase a lot of water, so you have to decide – do you buy water, or do you buy gear and equipment? Usually, it’s gear and equipment,” Petsch said.
“We thought with the opportunity, it would be worthwhile to try it. Luckily, we were successful.”