The Salem Volunteer Fire Department was established in June of 1972. Many members of the Salem Community decided together that the need for fire protection in the area was greater than Benton was able to provide. Through the efforts of these citizens, a used truck was purchased, volunteers recruited, and training began. Community members began paying $15 per year for fire protection. Citizens and businesses also donated money and equipment to support the needs of the Fire Department.
In 1973, construction of the first permanent station began. It is located on Salem Road, and continues to be the main station. In the late 1980’s, Station 2 was built on Congo Road. Later, Stations 3 and 4 were built on Highway 298.
Salem Fire Department currently has 34 volunteers, and we cover 75 square miles of district. In addition to that, we have automatic aid agreements with Crows Fire Department (Hwy 5 South), Lake Norrell Fire Department, Paron Fire Department, Collegeville Fire Department, Bryant Fire Department, and Bauxite Fire Department. The automatic aid agreement between our departments means, that when any of us receive a call for a house on fire, all available people from these departments will respond. None of us would be able to handle a situation like that on our own, the majority of the time. We rely on each other, and we try to train together when we can. We also have mutual aid agreements with the rest of the departments in Saline County, which allows us to extend a request for additional help if it is needed.