Community is everything. Such is the case for the geographic landscape of northeast Orange County, in the Caldwell community.
The fabric of this community is family, neighbors, farms, homes, a centrally located store, Handy Andy’s, and the Caldwell Volunteer Fire Department, which formed some 40 years ago.
“We have always been geared toward doing what is best for our community,” Fire Chief Brad Allison said. “Our level of services involves emergency medical care through our first-responder program, fire suppression and response, and rescue services.”
The department, at 7020 Guess Road in Rougemont, recently helped lower the insurance rating to a level 5 for homes in a five-mile radius of the department.
“We are excited. We are happy,” he said. “And this is an example of how much we appreciate our community support, because having this new, lower rating, helps our homeowners to lower their insurance rates and saves the homeowner money.”
The department began planning almost a year ago.
“It requires lots of work and tedious review of our records,” Allison said. “The inspector looks at everything from training records to equipment records, and they come in with a level of scrutiny to validate we are performing at a level worthy of this rating.”
Achieving this insurance rating is not required Unlike departments in denser municipal areas where calls are closer to the station house, Caldwell had to show it could haul high volumes of water and provide at least minimum personnel for fire scenes.
“It was a department and county-wide effort, literally,” Allison said. “We had tankers and trucks here from neighboring departments to assist us with the water-hauling shuttle and logistics and staging, and all of this is timed by the inspector and must meet defined criteria. ... We exceeded our expectations as a department.”
We have always been about taking care of our community.
Chief Brad Allison
The Caldwell Fire Department formed in December of 1977. When there was a fire, apparatus from Durham or Hillsborough or Hurdle Mills, responded to calls, delaying response. When the department began, its members trained at the local community building, while the station was being built and apparatus and equipment was being acquired. In 1980, the department launched the initial first responder service in the state, providing immediate medical care to its citizens.
“We have always been about taking care of our community, from the formation of the department, and this will continue to be who we are as a department,” Allison said.
The department remains, as it always has been, a volunteer department, meaning that the members that respond to calls for service and jeopardize life and family time and work, do so as volunteers.
“We are lucky in that many of our members work close to the station or work on shift for other departments and we can usually pull a great response to calls. Our volunteer effort is a direct relationship to the community giving back to the community,” says Allison. The department is a close-knit group, and they share in fellowship through outings to a baseball game in the summer and holding events at the fire station during the the year.
From 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday the Caldwell Fire Department will celebrates both its 40th anniversary and its accomplishment of lowering its insurance rating.
“This is a celebration for our department and the community,” Allison said. “We will have food and activities and demonstrations – all of this is our way of telling the community and citizens, thanks for allowing and trusting us to serve.”
The Caldwell Fire Department meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays at the station located at 7020 Guess Road in Rougement. If you are interested in joining or learning more about the department, send an email to Assistant Chief Joe Bumgarner at Joe@caldwellfiredept.org.