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Letter to the Editor

Westside Assistant Chief Supports Improving Protection and Services to Community


web posted January 30, 2012

Dear Editor,
First off let me say that as the assistant chief of the Westside Fire Department (WSFD) I totally agree that anything that can be done to improve fire protection, EMS services, and police coverage should be considered. I want to outline some of the things that we are doing at W.V.F.D to improve the services that we provide to the community and in order to give residents a bit of inside insight and perspective.

The first thing I want to mention is that in the last year there has been a changing of the guard. Scott Vivas was named chief about this time last year and I was named assistant chief. We have taken the responsibility that we have been charged with very seriously and are honored that the other members of our department felt that we should be trusted with charting our course for the future.

We, as a department, have done a number of things over the last year to further the goal of improving public safety in our district.

In December we put a new (to us) Emergency support unit in service. This truck is equipped with everything that we need to perform many emergency services. There is a jaws of life and a set of air bags which are used for auto extrication. There is a high pressure cascade system which is used for filling breathing air tanks on fire scenes. There are also an assortment of ropes, pry bars, saws, and about any other thing needed to perform most types of rescues. There is a portable GPS for setting up landing zones for EMS, and there is also a full complement of first responder equipment on board including an AED.

In February we will be placing a new (to us) Pumper truck in service. It is a modern Class A pumper with all of the required ladders, hose, and equipment that NFPA mandates. It will far surpass anything that we have ever had in its response capabilities.

We are also working with EMS in getting a first responder program going. We have several members who have taken the class (many thanks to Merriwether Fire Department for putting on the class) and we also have plans for another class in the near future that will allow more of our members to become certified first responders. We also have three members who are currently in Columbia attending the state fire academy. This is an eight week class and these new firefighters will be trained and certified just as any other professional firemen would be.

We are also currently exploring ways to lower our ISO rating in order to provide better insurance rates for the residents of our district. With limited funds its is a long struggle
to accomplish many things, but with fiscal responsibility and a lot of hard work from our members we have come a long way.

That being said, there is still much to be done. I want to invite anyone male or female to come and join us. We have some great members, however, we still need more in order to reach our goals. Even if you never want to go inside a burning building we can still use your help, there are trucks to drive, hoses to roll, fundraisers to put on, and any number of other things that can be done.

We meet every Tuesday night at 7:00 at our main station at the intersection of Highway 23 and Martintown Road. My phone number is 803-480-0927 if anyone wants to call and voice an opinion, concern, or has a helpful suggestion.
 
Bobby Allen
Assistant Chief W.V.F.D.






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