Shenandoah County Fire Rescue addresses staffing shortage

Chief Williams said this is a problem they're trying to solve now before more calls are unanswered.
Chief Williams said this is a problem they're trying to solve now before more calls are unanswered.(whsv)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 6:34 PM EDT
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SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — A few months after this year’s budget was approved for Shenandoah County, Chief Tim Williams has asked the board of supervisors to help solve a long term staffing issue for the county’s first responders.

“Our current staffing will not allow us to catch the calls in a timely manner,” Chief Williams said. “There will never be enough resources to handle everything in the county, but we need to at least minimize those days.”

Williams is asking the county to hire 14 additional full-time crew members to help respond to emergencies throughout the county. He said not all stations are staffed 24/7 and when one department can not respond to a call, it puts a burden on others.

“We have communities right now that certain times of the week, there are no EMS resources in those communities, so what we’re looking for is to make things equal,” Williams said.

For some departments like Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire Department and Conicville Volunteer Fire Department, calls can be unanswered because they may be responding to another call already.

“The Mount Jackson Rescue and Fire Department answered 1,150 in 2019, of that 1,150, they did not have enough resources to answer 63,” Williams said.

Another 53 calls Mount Jackson could not respond to because they were already out, leaving more than 100 times where a different fire company had to respond to the service area.

Williams said now he is just trying to talk to the county about the help. He said its been an ongoing issue he wants to solve now.

“We have a great fire and rescue system and the folks are doing phenomenal work,” Williams said. “We’re just too thin, we need help.”

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