UC Fire Association holds meeting for volunteer departments

BUCKHANNON — The Upshur County Fire Association, comprised of all the county volunteer departments, hosted the first meeting of 2022 to discuss the needs and issues of each department. Greg Phillips, from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Office of Special Reclamation, was in attendance on Wednesday, January 26. Representing officials from each station met at the Buckhannon Safety Complex, where President John Roby, Banks District’s Fire Assistant Chief, led the meeting.

The main topic of discussion centered around the lack of volunteerism. Volunteerism in today’s society is at a huge downfall, but why? Is it a question of the new generation or people wanting to get paid rather than volunteer their time? Unfortunately, the funding is not available as of right now to pay those who would be interested in joining the fire department.

Mayor Robbie Skinner, along with City Recorder Randy Sanders and City Councilwoman Sheila Sines, were in attendance. There was no county representation in attendance and after some discussion, the decision was made to get into County Commission’s April agenda. Doing this would allow the chiefs to bring the attention directly to the absent members of the commission.

Assistant Chief Roby noted, “It’s unacceptable to respond with one person to an emergency call. A letter was sent out to the County and the City, but with no representatives from the County showing up is what was most frustrating for this Chief.”

“I can purchase new firetrucks for you all day, but what good will that do if you have no one to fill them with?” Mayor Skinner said, agreeing with the issue at hand.

The biggest issue is lack of “manpower.” Firemen cannot get their jobs done properly and in a timely fashion without the needed number of men to respond to a scene. However, with that being said, the Upshur County fire departments and all of the firemen are doing a tremendous job making this work.

With career firemen working triple the amount of time and volunteers, who have a full-time job on top of responding to fires and other emergencies, it is incredibly exhausting and difficult for these men and women. The sole reason, which speaks volumes, that these men and women are active in the departments is that they care about the community.

“Out of roughly 400 calls a year, one fire chief from another station is responding to at least 50-60 calls by himself. It’s unacceptable,” Buckhannon’s Fire Chief JB Kimble stated. “By ourselves is not working. It’s not safe, it’s not smart and it’s not how this job was meant to be performed.”

What’s the next step? What else needs discussed? After meeting with the County Commission in April, hopefully light can be brought to the situation and resolution can be sought.

The fire departments and emergency medical services are desperately asking for volunteers. If interested in becoming a volunteer, call the fire department in your area and ask for the fire Chief.

Volunteer Fire Departments in Upshur County

Station 1 – Buckhannon Volunteer Fire Department (304)-472-2868

Station 2 – Washington District Volunteer Fire Department (Tallmansville) (304)-472-3762

Station 3 – Adrian Volunteer Fire Department (304)-472-4736

Station 4 – Banks District Volunteer Fire Department (Rock Cave) (304)-924-6864

Station 5 – Ellamore Volunteer Fire Department (304)-472-2655

Station 6 – Warren District Volunteer Fire Department (Hodgesville) (304)-472-7060

Station 7 – Selbyville Volunteer Fire Department (304)-924-6560


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