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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Reminder: Department of Fire Programs seeking public comment

The state-level review team will be meeting from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to get public comments on the fire and rescue system before the group begins its study.

The last time a study of this nature was done was back in 1999.

After tonight’s meeting, the team will meet with the Fire and Rescue Commission tomorrow night. Then, they will begin its study, which is expected to take three to four months.

If you are interested in the fire and rescue system, have ideas, recommendations, concerns then you may want to stop in and provide your two cents.

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2010/09/08/reminder-department-of-fire-programs-seeking-public-comment/

  • Lookin

    I have looked into the past study and see the county didn’t listen to most of what that said so do we think they will often to this one? I know if they do follow the recomendations that some people will have hurt feelings, but I would rather have hurts feelings than hurt citizens. All people need to get over there own selfishness and look at what is best for the community. We don’t follow other recomendations because it upsets certain people not because it is what is best.

  • bhaas

    I can understand where Lookin is coming from. I, too, was quite skeptical, last winter, that the county would have the “political nerve” to take the necessary actions in this matter.

    When Mr. Barnes made his recommendations for changing the F&EMS system public last June, I was greatly encouraged. It appeared to me that “we” were finally going to get serious and take the necessary action in the matter.

    When I read Dan Telvock’s article in the FLS yesterday morning, I was surprised and disappointed. It appeared that in his directions to the VDFP Panel, Mr. Barnes was “de-scoping” the depth of their study.

    I spent the rest of the morning thinking about the situation and hoping someone would come on line and clarify the problem. When that had not happened by early afternoon, I decided to go to the source and emailed Mr. Barnes directly with my concerns.

    Within minutes from the time I sent that email, my phone rang and it was Mr. Barnes calling.

    We had a rather extensive conversation on the subject. The bottom line was that Mr. Barnes was NOT “de-scoping” anything. My understanding is the county had already briefed the Panel prior to the meeting on which Dan reported. It is true that the Panel will not address certain things, but NOT because the county is declaring them “off-limits.” They will not address those things BECAUSE the Panel is confident the county already has a plan and the issues are under control.

    I addressed the issue of F&EMS management. In particular, the issue of a single individual (Chief) in charge of both the paid and volunteer personnel. Mr. Barnes confirmed that he believed that was an essential element of the system changes required and that issue was still in the mix.

    I hope that clarifies things a little bit.

  • LarryG

    One sentence in the opening remarks could have make that clear to all concerned though. Also – why not have the State offer their assessment on this ? I think having the county tell the state what to study and what not to study takes away some of the “independence” of the review myself. I would have preferred to see the county let the State take the review to where it thought appropriate and then deal with the recommendations.

  • bhaas

    Larryg is correct about the state Panel. That would have been preferable in a perfect world. However, it is useful to remember that “we” were “pressuring” the BOS and Mr. Barnes, after the February tragedy and other issues came to light, to DO SOMETHING. It is also factual that the state does not come in uninvited and that implies that the invitee provide some directions for what they want examined.

    Mr. Barnes stepped into the breach and produced a plan of action (June 8, 2010) that included a roadmap for a VDFP Panel. If you look at that roadmap, I am not sure one could find a more comprehensive set of requests for the VDFP Panel.

  • Sam

    Lookin,

    In some places (of course not here) in-actions like you mention cost the Fire Chief their job. We couldn’t think like that here. I mean I’m sure there were other pressing issues more important on Chris Eudaileys desk than public safety.

  • MD

    It’s not Mr. Eudaily’s fault the system runs like it does. He knows all the problems inside and out and knows what needs to be fixed. He can’t fix anything because when the fire and EMS commission was formed the BOS and County Administrator allowed this commssion to be a governing body instead of an advisory committee to the fire and rescue director which at the time happen to be Mr. Eudaily. When Mr. Eudaily’s title changed several years ago to Fire Chief, thats when he should have been given ultimate authority of the combined fire and ems system both volunteer and career. But not in Spotsylvania!! The lopsided fire and ems commission is to blame for the lack of forward progression in this County. Mr. Dillard keeps saying “we have a model combination system in Spotsylvania” but this is one of the most dysfuntional combination fire and ems systems I have ever seen. Mr. Dillard all of a sudden is changing his tune and saying “change might be good” Yes, Mr. Dillard is a commission member. Fredericksburg Rescue Squad did a good job when they got rid of Dillard a few years ago. Good luck Chancellor VFRD. Now that the fire and ems commission is more balanced I would imagine there will be strides made in the next 1-2 years. Still the entire system needs one Fire and Rescue Chief to run the department PERIOD. Reduce the fire and ems commission to an advisory board. Have one volunteer deputy chief for SVFD and CVFRD and EMS Captain for SVRS. One Chief of EMS to run the EMS side of the house, and all other officers can be station officers that meet certain training standards both career and volunteer. Training standards also need to be put in place and enforced immediatley, not 2 years from now. 24/7 staffing needs to be stratgically plced throughout the county at certain stations. Response guidelines and one set of SOP’s need to be created and enforced for all fire and ems providers. Stay tuned for the release of the fire study and then let’s get to work to make the system the best it can be, and restore the public trust in the system.

  • LarryG

    I’m persuaded that we have a dysfunctional command structure but I would have been willing to let a state review team make that determination – and maybe they still will.

    For myself – I’d like to see an organizational chart for Spotsy, Stafford, Fredericksburg, Henrico and a couple others.

    I would also like to see a comparison of staffing and levels of service across the county and across the 24/7.

    I think simple facts would have as much impact as a state review would to be honest and perhaps that’s what the state guys will do.

    that’s better than any recommendation that will be likely challenged on whether it is objective or subjective.

    just the facts.. let them speak.

  • Sam

    MD,

    Ummm, it is Chris Eudaileys fault. He strapped the badge on, did nothing about anything in the OLD REPORT, nor is he on record saying anything to the tune of
    ‘this badge is useless if everything must be done by -committee’,
    Where is anyone claiming any responsiblilty in any of this??. No one is standing up and saying ‘The buck stops here’.
    Chris Eudailey was enjoying a sweet paycheck ,going with the flow, carving out a future with ‘someplace else’ while the foxes were guarding the chickens. I like Chris but I don’t respect a man that doesn’t do his job.
    I agree with you about the snake oil salesmen though.

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