National Night Out at Belle Valley Fire Department has long been the largest annual NNO event in the region. 

It's not only a night to get to know your first responders, but equally as important, it's a catalyst for community donations.

“It's about $19,000 for every person on a firetruck, and that's the standard of the equipment they need to go fight a fire,” said BVFD President, Jeff Skonieczki.

Even fire departments haven't been safe from inflation. It’s just an added cost to an already expensive job. “If it says ‘fire’ on it, it doesn't matter what you buy-- whether it's a coat, a helmet, boots, it's always expensive,” said Skonieczki.

The good news is National Night Out indirectly helps to put at least a little money in the bank. The volunteer fire department's partners contribute to make that happen.

“Every little bit helps, and that's what we believe in doing at Mammoth," said Tom Duska of Mammoth Restoration. The company steps in to repair homes after the emergency is over.

Just from the jobs they see, they recognize the need for more donations for these important first responders. “They need the money. They need the help. They have those tax brackets, but really they're running on their own,” said Duska.

Everything from equipment to firetrucks rack up a hefty price tag, so donations from events like National Night Out go a long way. “We'll see a spike in our fund drives over the next two weeks just because of the advertising and the people here. It exposes the fire service to everyone,” said Skonieczki.

BVFD says they’re fortunate to get so much support from COVID relief funding and Millcreek, but it’s those smaller volunteer fire departments that are really hurting right now.