Ready to respond – Todd Bingham
DUNCOMBE — One of the first calls Todd Bingham ever went on as a first responder was a fatal car crash involving someone he knew.
The crash occurred in May of 2000 at an uncontrolled gravel intersection near Garfield Avenue and 320th Street in Webster County.
Bingham was a senior in Prairie Valley High School in Gowrie at the time.
He responded to the crash sometime around 2:30 p.m.
To this day, he has trouble talking about what he saw.
“We are always told when we get into EMS that we are there for people’s worst days, and I found that out that day,” Bingham said.
Bingham gained an interest in EMS from his mom, who at the time was an EMT for Southwest Webster Emergency Medical Service in Gowrie.
“That’s where I started my career as well,” Bingham said.
Bingham has been with the Duncombe Fire Department for nine years. He became chief in January 2018.
“Now as fire chief my role kind of changes,” Bingham said. “I don’t worry about myself as much; I worry about others on the call and how they will take it.”
The fire department is made up of 19 volunteers. Two are strictly EMS.
Bingham recognizes the importance of having strong volunteers in rural communities.
“In times of emergency it seems forever before anyone gets there anyways,” he said. “If you didn’t have your volunteers getting there in three to five minutes you’d have to wait even longer for your larger cities, and some people can’t wait that long.”
He’s enjoyed getting to know the community and especially the volunteers on the fire department.
“I love the camaraderie,” Bingham said. “We have a really good department in Duncombe. We are firefighters together, but we are friends outside of there, too. That’s probably what keeps me going the most.”
When not responding to medical calls or fires, Bingham enjoys coaching Little League teams and being involved in other community activities.
“I have five kids, so I get involved in a lot of the youth activities,” Bingham said.
The water fights in the summer are a highlight.
“I enjoy doing the water fights with the kids in the summer,” Bingham said. “We don’t gear ours around fire departments against fire departments. We like to get the kids involved. Unfortunately, we canceled it this year. Getting the kids out with the fire hoses — that’s a lot of fun to me.”