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Fuel budgets for many Kentucky first responders running on fumes

Responding to emergencies is getting much more expensive.
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 3:21 PM EDT
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LINCOLN COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Responding to emergencies is getting much more expensive.

First responders are seeing their fuel budgets for the year running on fumes. In Lincoln County, Sheriff Curt Folger budgeted $60,000 for fuel in 2021 and $85,000 for 2022.

“And by the end of April, we already spent $40,000,” said Sheriff Folger. “It is absolutely devastating our fuel budgets.”

The year is not yet half over yet half the budget has already been spent.

“There are some calls you can take care of with a phone call,” Folger said. “We are trying to do as many of those as we can.”

The county’s fire department is also feeling the pinch with large trucks that run mostly on diesel.

“It’s just going to limit our training,” said Chief Griffin Harness, “And that’s something we just can’t let happen.”

Since these are volunteers, many are spending their own money and a lot of it just to respond to calls. Some volunteers drive directly to the fire, and others come to the station.

”With gas the way it is, these guys are spending a lot of their own money to do a job that doesn’t pay them anything,” said Harness.

Discussions are soon to turn to what other ways they can save or cut back on if costs continue to go up or stay high.

“It’s going to tear us up. Case in point, we are going to have to do a lot more sitting in areas than patrolling,” said Folger.

Lincoln County fire officials estimate that they responded to at least 700 calls in 2021.

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