The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 24, 2013

Firefighters group starts duty crew

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

— The Raleigh County Firefighters Association has established a “duty crew” three days a week to provide better assistance countywide.

President Chris Hatcher said members from each department across the county assist the duty crew when they are available, from 6 to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

“The duty crew will serve as a support function. We’re going to assist other departments on calls throughout the county.”

Hatcher said the RCFA wanted to get the duty crew set up before the Boy Scouts arrive for next month’s Jamboree. He said he hopes this crew will be able to help out during the influx of people.

“We wanted to get it out there to people, to let them know when they see a Trap Hill fire truck in Shady Spring, or somewhere besides where they should be, they’ll know what’s going on.”

Hatcher said Coal City firefighter Robert Bays previously worked at a New Jersey fire department that had duty crews and it worked really well.

“He brought the idea to us and everyone agreed to it.”

The crew has already come in handy during last Monday night’s flooding in Mabscott and Beaver. “It worked out really well having additional resources because the fire departments got overwhelmed with calls.”

RCFA Vice President Carl Allen said this will allow the fire departments to provide better fire protection.

“Volunteer departments usually have issues being able to get manpower through the work schedule. By having a duty crew like that, you’re better able to provide that manpower.”

Stations collaborate with one another to set up the duty crew schedule each week.

He said it’s difficult to say how many people the Boy Scouts will bring in, or if that will cause a greater need from fire departments, but there is a possibility. “We want to be prepared.”

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