EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSFIREFIGHTER STAFFING
from Eyewitness News Online
Firefighters Still Short Staffed In Huntington
Reported by: Darrah Wilcox
Web Producer: Darrah Wilcox
Reported: Jan. 2, 2012 5:51 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 3, 2012 4:52 PM EST
Huntington , Cabell County , West Virginia
New Year's day started off with three fires in Huntington.
Huntington Professional Firefighters Local 289 president Ray Canafax says, "When we're responding shorthanded, we're responding to multiple fires in the same day, our guys are tired, and we don't have people to give those people relief."
The first was on Monroe Avenue in the west end. They were already down manpower for this fire, when they got called to another in the east end of town.
A short while later, they got dispatched to another fire in Westmoreland along Piedmont Road. "When you're on the first fire and you're already tired, and wet and covered in smoke and everything else from the fire and then you get sent to another fire, then it's very tiring and very frustrating, because you know you have a lack of manpower coming, you don't have enough to do it if it turns out to be a big fire."
Luckily, the Westmoreland fire was not major, because at one point, they had eight firefighters on scene of one fire, when they say national standards call for at least 15. "A similar situation happened in November when a fire happened on the 9th floor of the WV building. The firefighters were short staffed, but luckily the fire was contained to a small area.
Canafax says, "With the lack of manpower that we've been experiencing, we know that, we take precaution, we try to do things as best we can to keep our people safe, but it is dangerous. It is shorthanded, and it is a safety issue to both the firefighters and the civilians."
Canafax says hiring about a dozen more firefighter and or relaxing overtime stipulations could help alleviate their problems.
They are waiting to get a report back later this month to see if a hiring freeze will be lifted.
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