Local officials with Koch Fertilizer met at Enid Fire Department on Tuesday to donate $10,000 to community first responders.

The donation was split two ways, with $6,000 going to EFD, and $4,000 to Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management, to spend where it’s most needed.

“Our emergency first responders are a critical asset to our community,” said Shon Jackson, safety and security manager at Koch. “They’re kind of our silent partners out there in the field and they, a lot of times, go unrecognized for the great services they provide.”

Koch has a substantial emergency response staff of its own, but not enough to address anything that might occur. As such, Koch’s teams conduct drills with EFD and vice versa.

“We have a very strong collaborative partnership with our first responders,” Shon Jackson said.

In case of a “significant incident,” Koch also is in regular contact with Enid/Garfield County Emergency Management, to be as prepared as possible.

“We want to protect our community, protect our environment and definitely protect our site,” he said, and supporting community partners aides that effort.

Each year, Koch Industries picks different entities and organizations to donate to in communities across the country where the company has a footprint, according to Justin Klooz, human resource manager at the Enid plant.

EFD Chief Joe Jackson already knows where he wants to spend the extra money.

New rope rescue harnesses, some new training exercises and improvements to already-acquired lifesaving equipment are what he has in mind.

“Also, believe it or not, we need a new rescue dummy,” chief Jackson said. “These things get a lot of abuse.”

It’s not hard to find worthwhile expenditures for a fire department, he said.

“If you don’t budget the money, it’s hard to come up with, but things do come up,” he said. “You can’t think of everything that can happen at budget time.”

Mike Honigsberg, EGCEM director, is a few thousand closer to better gear his annual budget doesn’t necessarily account for, like thermal imaging equipment.

While he’s rushing from disaster to disaster in his truck, the installation of a thermal imaging device will allow him to drive through dust, fog and smoke, keeping him safer, saving him time and potentially more lives.

The other item on his wish list is a bit more basic — a heavy-duty laptop that can take a beating worse than the job gives, and it gives plenty.

“The laptop I have in the truck, depending on the bump I hit is whether it continues to work or not,” Honigsberg said.

The $4,000 he’s getting from Koch amounts to around 4 to 5% of his yearly budget, he said, a pretty impactful chunk of change.

“My priority is life safety, so this is a really good thing,” he said. “Every little bit helps.”

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by: Mitchell Willetts