JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KETK) – KETK recognized the Jacksonville Fire Department on Thursday for their service to the community.

Newest addition to the team Kooper Hand spoke about the department and how proud he is to be a part of the Jacksonville team.

“It’s like a little family here,” Hand said. “They took me in and have been like big brothers and dads to me.”

Hand also offered advice on how East Texans can stay safe this summer as the list of counties in the area with active burn bans continues to grow.

“Drink plenty of water,” Hand said. “With the burns bans, don’t burn. You can see how dry it is. We haven’t gotten rain like we need to.”

Hand also suggested with the continual dry conditions, that citizens hold off on firework displays unless the area experiences rain soon.

The department also promoted their “Splash Day with your Firemen” event which will be held on July 30 at Nichols Green Park.

“It’s going to be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and we’re going to go out and play in the water and have lots of fun, so bring your kids,” Hand said.

Peters Chevrolet Buick Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat provided team members with free snacks to show their gratitude. Peters Chevrolet is also making donations to different groups of East Texas first responders this year.