PHOTOS: An 18-wheeler pulled up in front of Coker Volunteer Fire Department on Thursday laden with a mountain of firefighting gear donated by departments in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The gear represents a windfall of equipment that many of the volunteer departments in West Alabama never would have been able to afford to purchase.
The National Fire Protection Association rules stipulate fire equipment cannot have more than a 10-year shelf life. Coker Fire Chief Robert Bowers said the strict adherence to the rule by northeastern fire departments has benefitted Tuscaloosa County departments.
"Up north, they follow the NFPA 10-year shelf life rule to the 'T.' They have to give up their equipment after 10 years, and it has to be replaced. It’s not a rule followed in every state. We try to follow it as best we can, but volunteer departments here struggle so much," Bowers said.