Tinsley reviews fire, EMS activity

Published 8:04 am Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Darlington Heights Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief Dallas Tinsley offered a report on behalf of the Prince Edward Area Firefighters Association on March 14 during the Prince Edward County’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

His annual report detailed the number of calls volunteer fire and rescue squad department members responded to in 2016, noting a steady increase.

Last year, according to Tinsley, the county’s volunteer fire departments received 1,017 fire calls and 4,115 rescue calls.

Tinsley told supervisors the Prince Edward Volunteer Rescue Squad ran 3,314 of the rescue calls.

Tinsley said fire department volunteers responded to 135 more fire calls than they did in 2015. That same year, departments responded to 224 more fire calls than they did in 2014.

“Each year these figures increase, which means it takes much more time and dedication from our volunteers of Prince Edward County to serve the citizens,” Tinsley said. “It also takes much more money to run the fire calls, burning fuel and damaging equipment and stuff like that.” 

“When we’re not running fire calls, our fire departments keep busy in the communities doing public service, public assistance, going out and helping people check their smoke detectors, replacing or repairing them when necessary,” Tinsley said.

Tinsley cited the amount of time it takes to become a volunteer firefighter compared to what it took in the past.

“One thing you may not know about the volunteers is it’s taking more and more time to (complete) the requirements to become a state firefighter,” Tinsley said. “All the programs are getting longer. As an example, in 1978 when I first became a Certified Firefighter I, a firefighter class was 48- hours long and we had an eight-hour awareness program — a total of 56 hours.”

He said in order to meet that same minimum standard of Firefighter I status now, there has to be 205 hours put forth — a majority of which are used to meet the requirements to become a certified firefighter. The time includes about 48 hours taking a course on how to deal with hazardous materials and approximately five hours on learning about the National Emergency Management System.

“These facts that I’m reporting to you (are) just to document how hard our volunteers are working to keep our community safe,” Tinsley said.