Brett Barber is a responder to the responders.
He, along with about 27 central Ohio residents, are active members of the organization Box 15 Club Inc., a response unit that assists emergency personnel at the scene of major fires or catastrophic events.
On scene, members provide rehydration, nutrition and core temperature stabilization to firefighters and other public safety personnel.
Off scene, they go through extensive training on this type of specialized support – all on their own time and dime.
"We are totally 100 percent volunteers," Barber said. "Nobody ever gets paid for their time or mileage. It’s strictly for the love of what we do, which is helping public safety people stay healthy."
While the volunteers come from all backgrounds, careers and communities, they typically have one thing in common – they are fire buffs, or people who has a deep appreciation for rescue personnel.
"Some of the members are volunteer firefighters, dispatchers, but most of them are those that have an interest in the fire service, or fire buffs," Barber said.
During the hottest of days and coldest of nights, Box 15 volunteers can be found assisting rescue personnel, automatically responding to all working fires in central Ohio when the heat index is above 95 or the temperature drops below 0 degrees.
"We’ve also been known to assist police departments on SWAT situations, and we work with the state fire marshal, ATF and FBI on investigations," he said.
Since 2005, Box 15 has responded to more than 150 incidents throughout central Ohio, including fires, haz-mat situations, mass casualty incidents, aircraft crashes, criminal investigations and cave-ins. The locations vary, from as far west as Madison County to Galloway, west Columbus, Groveport and Reynoldsburg.
So far this year, Box 15 has responded to 50 emergencies alone, on pace to exceed last year’s activity due to the hot and humid summer this year. Some of this year’s incidents include a Groveport Road fatal fire and a condo fire in Reynoldsburg.
"We also responded to the Plains in Athens County when tornadoes struck the region," Barber said.
With the cooperation of local restaurants, Box 15 served almost 3,000 meals last year as well.
"At any time, if they’re on a long-term incident, we’ll assist in gathering and in the distribution of food to maintain nutrition for them," Barber said.
To volunteer with Box 15, call (614) 585-9120 or go to www.box15.org.