Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Volunteers respond to training comments
At last night’s Fire and EMS Commission meeting, Chief Johnny Z. Leach, deputy fire chief of Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to recent comments about the county’s preliminary volunteer training analysis. Here is what he said:
The reason I am here tonight is because of some of the comments that were made last night at the Board of Supervisors meeting. Mr. Chairperson Benjamin Pitts stated that the county would be better off without volunteers who aren’t willing to take even the most basic training classes.
“I wouldn’t want them coming to my house,” Pitts said. “I can hook up a garden hose and do just as well, probably. When they come to my house, I want the best; I want them trained; I want them qualified.”
I would like to comment on the number of firefighters we have and who responds to emergency calls. Last night, the impression was given was that there are untrained personnel responding to emergencies. When a piece of our apparatus leaves the building to respond to an emergency there is at least a crew of three certified firefighters.
There are Red Helmets or recruits that do ride the apparatus and help with fire ground functions but these individuals do not enter the IDLH. We have several dedicated volunteers that work for career departments in our local area. The numbers that were presented last night I do not have in front of me but we will have a report to the fire commission and the Board of Supervisor as to the number of firefighters that are certified to fight fire and the number of personnel that are recruits.
As far as minimum training standards, we do believe that there needs to be a minimum standard to perform our duties but these standards far exceed the state standards as well as many career and volunteer departments close to our area.
For the record, Leach was nice enough to provide a written copy of his remarks; I’m not that fast at writing down quotes.
The story says this, but let me provide some context, in case you didn’t read my story in yesterday’s paper. I didn’t want to leave Pitts’ statement out there on this blog without a little bit of context: He was speaking of firefighters who have not had Firefighting I. The preliminary training analysis found that about 80 of the county’s volunteer firefighters have not finished that class. I just didn’t want there to be an impression that Pitts was speaking about volunteer firefighters in general.
I am working on an upcoming post answering some of the common questions about training. So stay tuned.