Returns could help area rescue squad units

Published 10:29pm Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tax season is less than one month away from closing and individuals in Selma and Dallas County still have the opportunity to give to a local rescue squad using their tax returns.

The voluntary check off programs that are available on Alabama individual returns, have been growing in popularity because they allow taxpayers to simply make selections through check boxes as to what organization they would like to contribute several dollars to. This will be the first tax season that the Alabama Association for Rescue Squads will be on the list for options on the check off program.

Debbie Tidwell, the secretary and treasurer for AARS, said money donated through the check off program would be spread evenly to participating rescue squads throughout the state — one rescue squad in Selma.

“We have about 100 rescue squads [in the association] from across the state,” Tidwell said and noted that the Selma-Dallas County Rescue Squad in the area is one of the 100 on the list to receive donations from the check off program.

While local fire departments in general operate from tax money and can receive grants, Tidwell said, most of these rescue squads are made up of volunteers and operate from donations.

“we have teams that dive, search dog teams, ground search, we have the extrication equipment to work accidents to cut people out of cars we train our people to do everything and they are volunteers,” Tidwell said, and explained the rescue squads, mostly located in rural areas, do not get the same funding, supplies and other resources as fire departments. “I don’t know why its that way we have been working for years trying to get it changed and so far it hasn’t.”

The Alabama Association of Rescue Squads started in 1967 and they are a non-profit volunteer organization.

Last year Alabama taxpayers across the state contributed $163,435 in FY 2012 through their tax returns to various organizations with the check off program. More than 13,000 returns contributed to that amount.

Other organizations participating in the program include the Alabama Aging Fund, Alabama Veteran’s Program, 4H Clubs, Alabama Military Support Foundation and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Fund. To see a full list of those organizations available, visit

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