Firemen accept added chores

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2006

WINDSOR – The Windsor Fire Department is taking over extrication in traffic accidents.

Fire Chief Billy Smithwick told the Windsor Board of Commissioners last week that after nearly two years of discussions, the town’s fire officials had decided to take the job from the Windsor Rescue Squad.

&uot;The rescue squad has been through troubled times as far as personnel,&uot; Smithwick said. &uot;We wanted to straighten out some of the rumors.&uot;

He said the rescue squad wanted to stop doing extrication and had approached the fire department more than two years ago to take over the duties.

&uot;We had stayed steadfast that we were not much interested in it,&uot; Smithwick said.

Over the past year, the fire department had taken on the extrication, but did not maintain the equipment and were not responsible for it.

Nearly a month ago, fire department personnel reported to an accident in Merry Hill to help with extrication.

&uot;At that point, we found that the equipment was in disarray and needed repair,&uot; Smithwick said.

From there, the decision was made by fire department officials that they would either take on the responsibility, including the truck and equipment or they would not continue to provide the service.

&uot;We voted 100 percent to take over provided they give us lock, stock and barrel,&uot; Smithwick said. &uot;We wanted the truck, the equipment, the works.&uot;

The rescue squad agreed to the proposition.

Smithwick said the fire department had decided to put the equipment on an existing vehicle and sell the truck being given to them by the rescue squad. They will in turn use the money from the sale of the vehicle to repair and replace equipment.

Mayor Bob Spivey asked if the fire department would be doing anything but the extrication.

&uot;We are not doing any care of the individual, but providing extrication to get them out,&uot; Smithwick said. &uot;It is a service we can provide and we are willing to go (on those calls).&uot;

Mayor Pro-Tempore Jimmy Hoggard asked if the change increased the town’s liability, but Smithwick said it didn’t because they had been doing it anyway.

Hoggard also asked what geographic area would be covered to which Smithwick replied it would be the current fire district and any calls for mutual aid.

&uot;Our relationship with neighboring departments is excellent,&uot; he said. &uot;We want to keep it that way. All of them are okay with us handling this as long as they are aware of it.&uot;

Commissioner Bob Brown made a motion to approve the fire department’s change with Commissioner Charles W.D. Fulk offering a second. It passed without objection.