NOBLE — A group of 28 individuals in Cleveland County volunteer every hour, every day of every year in an effort to give their community an added sense of security.
Some of these men have 40 hour work weeks at their jobs. Others involved with the unit are retirees looking for a way to give back to their community. Together these men serve as volunteer firefighters for the Cedar Country Fire Protection District.
The unit is tucked away in the cedar trees of Noble and covers 67.5 miles of area in southeast Cleveland County. The unit’s coverage is bounded by Lindsey Street on the north, State Highway 39 on the south, the Pottawatomie County line on the east and 132nd Street and 144th Street to the west.
The unit works to combat structure fires, grass fires, automobile fires and assists with medical calls in the area. The unit assists other fire departments all over Oklahoma as part of the Cleveland County Task Force.
The unit assisted Little Axe and Moore Fire Departments during the May tornadoes last year, and put in more than 300 straight man-hours helping assist in the recovery efforts, according to Harlen Fipps, Cedar Country Fire Chief.
The unit department staffs 28 volunteers and estimates they extinguish 110 fires per year, according to Roger Wickey, Cedar Country emergency manager.
The unit’s origins started in the mid 1990s when a group would organize a way to fight fires in Slaughterville.
“People couldn’t buy insurance out here [in Noble]. It was no man’s land, because there was no fire protection at all,” Daryl Covey, chairman of the Cedar Country board of directors, said.
Fire responses officially began on Jan. 15, 1996. Since then, the unit was recently evaluated by the Insurance Services Office. ISO collects information on municipal fire protection efforts. Covey said the unit is expecting an improved protection rating this year. An improved rating means everyone’s insurance rates and premiums could lower, according to Covey.