Thoughts on Fire and Rescue in Lee Hill
As Lee Hill residents you are served by either Fire/Rescue Station 11 (roughly Route 17/Route 2 corridor) or Fire/Rescue Station 4 (Mine Road and Route 1).
There are several challenges that I take away from talks with both volunteer and career firefighters. One is working to adapt to a national trend that it is becoming more difficult to recruit volunteer firefighters.
Speaking to Fire Chief Cullinan, I am encouraged with his efforts to better intermingle our career and volunteer Fire and Rescue personnel, while ensuring consistent coverage across the county. I support these efforts. As you Supervisor, I would work to see how best to support these plans on the Board.
There are several concerns I have that are not the fault of the Fire and Rescue personnel nor Chief Cullinan. They are funding considerations controlled by the Board of Supervisors. To be fair the County has made efforts with implementing their compensation study to ensure county employees salaries are more competitive. As your supervisor, I will continue to monitor these developments to ensure that Spotsylvania Fire and Rescue does not become an entry level department that expends resources to train new personnel only to have them depart to other localities for better pay after they gain experience.
Second is the issue of Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) medical certifications. Some Fire/Rescue Stations lack ALS coverage at various times of the day and week, which requires other stations to send additional units to incidents if more sophisticated medical attention is required. This effects Fire/Rescue Station 4 that serves Lee Hill residents.
I am confident this is not out of neglect, but accommodations made due to not having enough resources or personnel. I would be proactive in talks with Fire Chief Cullinan to see how he feels providing the same coverage to all Spotsy residents could best be achieved. These efforts would certainly cost more in the short term, but could reduce responses required for incidents since each station would be staffed similarly. It could also have the benefit of reducing wear and tear on our fire and rescue apparatus, extending their life use.
Another concern is that Fire/Rescue Station 4 will finish 2017 well above the call volume that Spotsylvania’s Comprehensive Plan states a station is at full capacity. Fire/Rescue Station 11 just went into service last year, but is projected to be within acceptable call volume. Based on the level of upcoming development, we will need to remain vigilant on when and where we need a new fire station.
Finally, roughly 40 percent of our fire and rescue personnel live in Spotsylvania. Similar to other county employees, I would like to look into ways to increase if possible the percentage of county employees that live in the county they serve. This achievement should help foster a greater sense of community.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve as your supervisor and providing similar updates like these throughout the year to keep you informed.