By Emily Sears | July 5, 2012
Completing our Brownsboro Heroes series, Brownsboro Alliance is proud to feature Sergeant Trevor Straub of the South Oldham Fire Department!
Sgt. Straub is originally from Jefferson County, until he was 10 and moved to Oldham County. He is a full-time mechanic, and became a volunteer firefighter with South Oldham Fire Department (SOFD) in 2008. As a sergeant, he operates the trucks, pumps water, and leads other firefighters while on the job. When asked why he wanted to become a firefighter, Sgt. Straub said with a laugh, “I’ve always had a fascination with fire, ever since I was a little kid.” One of his childhood friend’s fathers was a firefighter for SOFD. As Sgt. Straub remembers it, “He kept bugging us to come… Finally I did and never looked back.” Sgt. Straub enjoys helping the community as a firefighter. “I like to help people,” he said. “It’s a natural thing for me, and anytime I can make a call and make somebody’s bad day a little better, that’s the most rewarding part of it.”
South Oldham Fire Department covers one of the largest districts in Oldham County, including Kentucky Acres, Briar Hill, Brownsboro, and much of Hwy 329. Eight emergency response vehicles are housed at SOFD. There are between 30-40 part-time, full-time, and volunteer firefighters at SOFD. Nine of these firefighters are in paid positions and are divided into three shifts of three firefighters each day. Sgt. Straub explained that it is difficult to get a paid position, so much of the SOFD workforce depends on volunteers. Volunteers do not work scheduled shifts, but rather, are available on a truck-call basis. When a call is dispatched, volunteers will be paged to report to the Station first. Generally, the team of paid firefighters will go out in the first truck to respond, followed by trucks operated by volunteers. Response time varies, but Sgt. Straub estimated that SOFD can get anywhere in Oldham County in approximately 10 minutes. Time spent on-scene can last between 20 minutes to nearly 8 hours. Sgt. Straub explained that there is a lot more to do than putting the fire out; oftentimes, firefighters will salvage property, contact family, call in the Red Cross, or provide any other aid that is needed. Furthermore, there are situations when firefighters will have to return to a scene to do a fire watch, making sure no embers reignite. Understandably, these are some of the longer runs.
Many calls are served by mutual aid. Fire and EMS runs are split 50/50, according to Sgt. Straub, and many runs require both. As for mutual aid between fire departments, SOFD often works in conjunction with La Grange or Worthington Fire Departments, but SOFD is its own municipality. Emergencies can vary from structure fires to grass fires, from motor vehicle collisions to medical runs. Many volunteer firefighters are also EMTs, so SOFD will assist on medical runs to supply additional EMTs, as well as assisting with heavy lifting or other aid.
Volunteers also work “details,” which include visiting schools with a safety trailer or attending Oldham County Day. Many of these details emphasize preventative education. Sgt. Straub highly stressed the importance of prevention. “The majority of people are fairly prepared in case an emergency did happen,” he said. “If you don’t have to see us, we know that you don’t want to.” In the past several months, SOFD has implemented a new home inspection program, which brings firefighters from SOFD to your home to make recommendations to make your home a safer place. Contact SOFD at 502-241-8992 to schedule an inspection. Fire extinguishers are recommended, particularly in the kitchen area, but not necessarily next to the stove. Check your dryer vents; Sgt. Straub said this is a big cause of home fires. He advised to keep smoke alarm batteries current, have an escape route, and plan a designated meeting place for your family. Grass and brush fires are very common in Brownsboro, Sgt. Straub said, so be aware and take caution. Roads in Brownsboro are generally smaller and narrower than the rest of the county, so if you encounter a fire truck, give ample room and slow down for their large vehicles to pass.
SOFD has acquired land on Hwy 329 for a new station to better serve the residents of Brownsboro. Although many details of this new station have yet to be determined, Sgt. Straub ventured to say it would probably be a volunteer department, but admitted that even this could be up for discussion. Still, “we’ll be looking for all kinds of volunteers,” he said, “particularly from [Brownsboro.]” For anyone interested in knowing more about what it takes to be a volunteer firefighter, Sgt. Straub recommended visiting the Fire House for their weekly trainings on Mondays from 7:00pm-10:00pm. “It’s eye opening for a lot of people to see behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s a lot more than meets the eye.” Sgt. Straub receives a great amount of satisfaction as a volunteer and would encourage anyone to experience the reward of serving the community if you’re able. “It’s a pleasure doing what I do,” he said. “We’re here for everybody and we’ll do anything and everything we can to help anybody out.” He also spoke very favorably about his fellow firefighters at SOFD and enjoys the camaraderie around the Fire House. “We’re one big family, really.”
For more information on SOFD, directions, or volunteering, visit SOFD online.
Thank you to Sgt. Trevor Straub for his contribution to this article and for his service to the Oldham County community!