Skip to content Skip to footer

(New) VFDs and EMS

We need legislation to assist our Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) / Rescue Squads.  The stark reality is that our VFD and Rescue Squads are suffering from a lack of volunteers. (Maybe you might want to consider becoming a volunteer?)

On March 18, the Sharples VFD in Logan County notified the communities of Kelly, Blair, Sharples, Mifflin and Clothier that “…due to inadequate and non-availability of people/volunteers … (they) have begun the process of dissolving.” 

This is a looming issue that is going to bite us in the “behind” real bad if we do not do something.  Already here in Hampshire and Mineral Counties some of our Rescue Squads have shut down, and some of the remaining VFDs and Rescue squads are barely hanging on.

It has been suggested to me by some individuals that to address our emergency services needs, we should go to fire departments staffed entirely with paid personnel.  The suggestion to go to all paid fire fighters is usually done without much consideration to the cost.  A recent estimate of what it would “take” to provide JUST paid firefighters statewide was pegged at $550 million per year.  The US Census Bureau estimated that last July WV had just under 1,773,000 people. On a “per capita” basis, the $550 million dollar bill for paid fire fighters would equate to nearly $308.50 per resident…. annually; which is not something I believe the residents of WV can readily afford.

This past legislative cycle, had it passed (it did not) WV Senate Bill 420 would have provided an average of $40,000 per VFD across the state annually. The beauty of the SB 420 was that it would not have cost the taxpayers any additional new fees or taxes, because it would have repurposed an insurance surcharge that is already being collected and held by the insurance companies. 

Should I be fortunate to be elected to the WV House of Delegates, I will do what I can to help sustain and support our volunteer emergency personnel and organizations through legislation similar to SB 420.  It is my opinion that if we don’t act now, we will soon find many more VFDs and Rescue Squads will follow the path of the Sharples VFD.  If managed correctly, perhaps we can reverse past decisions such that Hampshire County and others that have imposed an Ambulance Fee will be able to rescind those fees in the future.

· Paid for by The Committee to Elect Rick Hillenbrand ·
© 2023 All rights reserved – Privacy Policy