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Man Expresses Concern Over Fire Department

By Staff | Aug 5, 2015

Dave Goddard of the Grandview Volunteer Fire Department approached the Wetzel County Commission at their regular meeting held on Tuesday, July 28, to express concern over the fire department being dispatched for traffic issues.

Goddard said the previous Wednesday, Grandview VFD was dispatched because a large truck and dozer were stuck on Anderson Hill. Goddard argued that for these non-emergency calls, the Division of Highways or law enforcement should be required to respond, not the fire departments. Goddard suggested the policy on such responses be reviewed.

Commissioner Don Mason inquired as to what the definition of an emergency is, in which Goddard said it would involve “hazardous materials or fire.” Goddard said the fire departments’ job is not to respond to traffic.

Wetzel County Office of Emergency Management Director Ed Sapp said that a letter had already been submitted by Grandview VFD’s chief. The letter stated that the fire department would not respond to any incidents involving trucks stuck on the hills or incidents involving a tree or debris in the road.

“The letter took care of the situation,” Sapp said.

“If a truck is stuck on a hill, who directs traffic?” Mason inquired.

It was stated that the Division of Highways is to set up a traffic stop if the response will take longer than 30 minutes.

Paul Hicks of West Virginia’s Division of Highways said the DOH wants to know when there is an obstruction of traffic; however, “we don’t have people sitting there (at the office). They are out working and maintaining roads. We will not be immediate responders.”

Goddard lamented that after Grandview VFD acquired a traffic department, dispatch began calling for them to respond to calls.

“If the majority of fire departments do not want to be called out, then they need to let you know,” Mason further stated.

It was noted that at the next fire association meeting, the fire departments need to discuss the issue, as to whether they want to be dispatched out for road blockages.