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Folsom Department Obtains New Equipment

January 22, 2014
Wetzel Chronicle

The Folsom Fire Department recently purchased two new pieces of equipment.

The first piece of equipment is a 2013 Kubota RTV 900XI. The Kubota has a hard cab with steel doors and heater, hydrostatic drive with Low-Medium-High Ranges, 4 wheel drive with differential lock, all shaft driven, a 72-inch front blade, electric lift manual angle, rescue skid unit with stokes basket, and 3,000 pound wench.

The Kubota was purchased new from Thompson's in Worthington, W.Va.

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The Folsom Fire Department recently purchased this Kubota RTV and an equipment trailer in which to transport it.

The second piece of equipment is a 2014 Lark VT8.5 x 20 TA enclosed box trailer. It has a V-Nose with rear ramp, eight recessed D. Rings, and has in interior height of 90 inches. It has a 84-inch rear door opening and hinged AC Door on the right side. The trailer was purchased new from North 79 Trailer Sales in Bridgeport, W.Va.

The trailer will be used to house the Kubota as well as to transport the Kubota to incident scenes. Shelving will be added to the interior for storage. Both pieces of equipment will be used for backwoods search and rescue incidents. The stokes basket will allow the EMS crew to safely and efficiently transport a patient from the rescue site to the ambulance for transport, as well as to allow them to provide patient care while being transported to the ambulance.

The members of the Folsom Fire Department are very pleased with its accomplishments over the past few years, and greatly appreciate all the support it receives from its community as well as the surrounding communities.

The members of the fire department work diligently to maintain all of the department's equipment at all times so when the call comes in, whether fire or EMS, the trucks are ready to roll.

Most people do not realize what is involved in operating a fire and/or EMS agency. It is a full-time job. Proper maintenance of both building and equipment must be maintained, equipment kept in proper working condition at all times, accurate and concise bookkeeping, planning and holding fund raisers, not to mention the continuous hours of continuing education and training. Although a fire department and an EMS agency, it is still a business and must operate as such.

When it comes to training, the days of "Oh, I'm going to join the fire department or EMS agency and drive the fire truck or ambulance" are long gone. Most people don't realize that there is special training and education involved to drive either one. This is a 16-hour course called EVOC (Emergency Vehicle Operator's Course). It is mandated by the state that anyone driving either of these apparatuses must first take and successfully pass this course. The participate must hold a valid West Virginia operators' licenses and complete a background check. A background check is now mandatory for anyone involved with any fire or EMS agency.

The basic EMT course, (as of July 1, 2013), is now 150 hours with includes 10 hours of precepting either at an approved EMS agency or at an approved hospital emergency department. The student must also have Mass Casualty Incident modules I & II and four hours of Hazmat (Hazmat Awareness Level) yearly. Paramedic education is a full-year program.

And the education or training doesn't stop once one becomes certified. Continuing education hours and continuous training must be continued in order to maintain certification. This also applies to firefighters.

Firefighter I training is mandatory to become a firefighter. Firefighter II is recommended. Fire Officer I and II is mandatory to hold any rank such as captain, lieutenant, etc.

So, as one can see, fire and EMS is no longer just showing up to answer a call and then go home. It is hours of work, education, training, and having the proper working equipment. None of this comes cheap, either.

Like any business, it takes money to operate. It's only common sense that the buildings, trucks, supplies, and equipment cost money. The education and training is not free either. Instructors don't become instructors just to teach for free. He or she must be paid to teach these courses. Paramedic students have to pay college tuition, textbook fees, etc. And then, let's not forget utilities and fuel for the trucks (and we all know how much fuel is per gallon), maintenance costs, workers' compensation, and the list goes on. "All too many times we have heard the comment, 'Look how much it cost for an ambulance, That's outrageous,'" said a press release from the Folsom VFD. "These people obviously don't realize the cost involved in operating that ambulance, and just exactly how much the agency receives from Medicare or commercial insurance companies."

For example, Ambulance XYZ bills Medicare for transporting a patient from Folsom to Wetzel County Hospital. The patient required ALS services (needed a paramedic). The ambulance agency bills Medicare $1,274, but Medicare only pays the agency $529.76. Neither Medicare or commercial insurance companies pay 100 percent, therefore the ambulance rates have to be high enough to make up for what is written off in order to continue to operate. "Perhaps now, people will realize what is involved to provide quality fire and EMS services in our communities," concluded the press release.



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