Dollars and Sense

When you support the Big Chili Cook-off Music and Arts Festival you do so much more than help to pay for a grand event in Evergreen, Colorado.  The Big Chili was established to raise money for our Volunteer Firefighters in the mountain districts covering Conifer, Evergreen, Indian Hills, Idledale, Kittredge, Bailey, Pine, Morrison, and all the areas that land in between.  These volunteers, who leave work or their businesses to perform fire and rescue not only don’t get paid for their service, thus the label of “volunteer”, but many of them end up paying for their own firefighting and rescue equipment.  We thought it would be interesting to see what some of the items cost that they need to safely perform their duties.  A pair fire boots, able to withstand tough terrain and high temperatures is priced between $300 and $800.  The helmets that shield their face and allow them to breath in less smoke start at a little over $500 and go up from there, the gloves are between $60 and $100, and the turnout gear starts at just over $1000 for the jacket and $500 for the pants, and this doesn’t include back up air systems, ropes and hooks, fire blankets, gasmasks or the number of other items that make their jobs doable.  When we write the check to each of the six Volunteer Fire Departments that the Big Chili supports we alleviate just a portion of what it costs them to protect us.  Perspective is a powerful thing.   (Thank you to for this information.)


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