Cumberland fire department works to improve response times

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, October 26, 2023

Cumberland Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is continuing to improve its service, as the stations are working together to make it happen. Chief Andy Aigner updated the Board of Supervisors during their October meeting. 

Since the last Board of Supervisors meeting, Chief Aigner and other fire officials have met twice to discuss operations and the Standards of Procedures (SOP). The first meeting strictly focused on chapter three of the SOP, which focuses on defining how they are going to operate together in the county. It’s designed to reduce radio traffic by defining terms and who is qualified to do what. 

Also clearing up communication is defining assignments by arrival. For example, the first engine on the scene will address the fire and the second will get the water supply. This way there is no confusion or unnecessary talk on the radio about who is doing what at the scene. As soon as the engines arrive they can get straight to work since they know what to do.

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“It’s going to be a learning curve and will take a year or so for everybody to get used to it because we’re changing the culture,” said Aigner. “The more we train with it, the more they’ll get used to it.”

During the second meeting, Aigner said they took a break from the SOP chapters and discussed development and where they wanted to go. They also looked at training and scheduling more for the stations. 

Cumberland fire departments were also awarded $30,000 from Centra for equipment that will reduce on-scene times. The items awarded are four video laryngoscopes, four ventilators, four emergency child restraints and money for CPR assist devices. 

Celebrating Cumberland schools

The schools had the opportunity to celebrate different professionals this month for National Custodial Day, National Principals Month and National IT Professionals Day. They also celebrated Superintendent Dr. Chip Jones as he was chosen to be on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Chronic Absenteeism Task Force.

“We will now be represented on that task force,” said Dr. Liz Jamerson, the assistant superintendent.

The students and staff have also participated in numerous events including the CuCPS Foundation Walk for Education, Crunch Heard Around the Commonwealth, a spirit week for Disabilities Awareness Month and a petting zoo for the preschool students. There was also a STEAM Night for families at the elementary school. 

The middle and high school students went to a career expo at Hampden-Sydney College and interacted with various businesses and employers in the county. The high school is also doing college visits to prepare for after graduation. 

Four-way stop stays at Cartersville

A representative was unable to attend the meeting, but Cumberland County Administrator Derek Stamey gave a brief update on behalf of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). 

There is no additional news since the update given last month except for some routine maintenance taking place. The one change is that the temporary four-way stop at Routes 45, 616 and 684 in Cartersville is going to be a permanent change, which The Herald reported on earlier this month. This means that drivers can expect this new traffic pattern to remain unless something changes down the line. VDOT will have a crew mobilized soon to put paint on the pavement and finalize the intersection. 

“I didn’t ask for a timeframe because we know how it works with VDOT, but I can assure you that it is in the hub,” said Stamey.