COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
Northern Fire Rescue Services
Update on the Northern Fire Rescue Station, Board direction regarding daytime career staffing levels at Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department
Tucker, Foley, Eggleston
LEGAL REVIEW: No
November 3, 2004
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
During the 1999-2000 revision of Community Facilities Plan, the “Need Assessment” portion of the “Fire and Rescue Services” section was updated to include the recommendation to construct four new Fire Rescue stations in the County to serve planned development areas and the densely populated area of Ivy.
The southern urban area was the first area targeted for construction of a fire rescue station and had been planned for several years. The opening of the Monticello Fire Rescue Station has positively impacted the fire and rescue services in the southern urban area. The Monticello Fire Rescue station also provides support to other urban and rural fire rescue stations.
The Hollymead Development Area is the second area targeted for construction of a fire rescue station. Planning for the construction of a Northern Fire Rescue station is well underway. This planning is being done in partnership with the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department, that will be providing volunteer staffing for the operation of the station.
3.1 Make the County a Safe and Healthy Community in which citizens feel secure to live, work, and play.
Using the Geographic Information System (GIS) services in the Department of Community Development, staff has evaluated a number of sites in the Rt. 29/Airport Road area for the location of the Northern Fire Rescue Station. Staff is in the process of negotiating with one of the property owners and hopes to have additional information for the Board regarding this site in the near future.
An architectural firm for the Northern Fire Rescue Station project was hired, and Fire Rescue staff and Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department have participated in the programming process as part of the initial design phase. The most significant design change from that used for the Monticello Fire Rescue Station is the planned addition of four student dormitory rooms for live-in volunteer members. The basic concept is to offer free room and board to qualified students in exchange for their volunteered time as a fire fighter or EMT. The live-in concept is widely used and is successful in the Northern Virginia and Maryland areas. In addition, a third bay is planned at the Northern Station to ensure adequate ladder truck service in the area.
Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department Career Staffing
Fire Rescue staff is working with the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department to develop a volunteer recruitment plan. The goal is to recruit 35 volunteer members to help staff Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department and the Northern Fire Rescue Station evenings and weekends. The recruitment goal and the student live-in program will allow the volunteers to staff nights and weekends, but daytime career staff at Earlysville Volunteer Fire Station are still needed. Because most people work or attend school during the daytime hours, volunteers are often not available during these times. Therefore, career staff are needed during the daytime hours. As is the case with the Seminole Trail and Stony Point Volunteer Fire Departments, Earlysville remains concerned about daytime coverage and has requested (see attached letter) that the County commit to maintaining the current level of staffing in Earlysville, regardless of the addition of the Northern Fire Rescue Station.
Although currently defined as a rural area, the Earlysville community has a number of residential and commercial structures that were established when the County had “village” areas (which included Earlysville) throughout the County in addition to designated “development” areas. The existing development in the Earlysville vicinity creates the need for fire and rescue services during the daytime when volunteer coverage is not available. In addition, the Northern Fire Rescue station and Earlysville will back each other up to ensure enough personnel to safely perform interior fire fighting operations. As an example, when considering the resources necessary to fight a house fire, it generally requires 15-16 fire fighters. For planning purposes, a house fire in the Hollymead area would require a response from the following:
Northern Station 3 Staff – 1Engine
2 Staff – 1Ambulance
3 Staff – 1Ladder Truck (planned for FY06/07 phased in)
Earlysville 3 Staff – 1Engine
Seminole 3 Staff – 1Engine
Volunteer or career chief officer response 1 Staff - 1Command vehicle
Obviously, the demands will be much greater for multiple responses and multi-story or commercial structures. For these reasons, staff believes that maintaining staff at Earlysville is needed to adequately cover both the Earlysville area and to assist in the growing Hollymead development area.
Staff recommends that the daytime (12 hrs/day, 5 days per week) career fire rescue staff remain at the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Station even after the opening of the Northern Fire Rescue station.
Letter dated September 10, 2004 from Frederick L. Huckstep
Map - Hollymead area covered from Earlysville and Seminole Stations
Map - Hollymead area covered from Northern Station
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