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General News & Info

In May of 2012, the citizens of Raleigh County saw a critical need in upgrading the fire service and voted for a much needed fire levy.

Since the inception of the fire levy in Raleigh County, the departments now have standardization of breathing apparatus. For example, there were upwards of 6 different brands of breathing apparatus that departments used as of 2012. This meant that if there was a fire that required mutual aid from another department, each department’s breathing apparatus would be “alien” to other responders…making for a dangerous situation. Now, through the funding of the fire levy, the fire departments in Raleigh County have come up with a single “spec” for a breathing apparatus that every department will now be able to order, train with, and use. This concept will continue to save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

Prior to the fire levy, many of the fire engines, ladder trucks and other apparatus were not inspected annually as required by the West Virginia State Fire Commission. At that time many departments did not have the funds to have these inspections completed. In March of 2012, nearly 80% of all the pumps on the apparatus failed their test. Now all apparatus is being tested annually and being maintained properly including testing of aerial ladders and all ground ladders, every foot of fire hose and all breathing apparatus.

Many of the departments have been able to purchase newer fire apparatus, new bunker gear, fire hose and update many tools for our firefighters to be safer to protect our citizens.

Coal River VFD, Bradley-Prosperity VFD (Station 4 – North Sand Branch), Ghent Area VFD (Station 2 – Hinton Road) and Beckley FD (Station 3 – New Bypass) have all seen new fire stations built with the help of the fire levy. Clear Creek VFD had a building donated to their department. With help of the fire levy, they rehabilitated this building and made a new station for their area. This and the annual testing have allowed many residents of their response areas to save hundreds of dollars on their homeowners’ insurance premiums through a lower ISO classification. At this time there are three new fire stations/substations in the planning phase.

Another big positive has been the installation of over 100 new fire hydrants throughout the county. A portion of the fire levy funds are dedicated for just installing new fire hydrants.

Without the support of the citizens of Raleigh County through the financial assistance of the fire levy, many departments were faced with tough decisions. With the rising costs of utilities, insurance, and other costs for maintaining trucks and equipment in working order, many departments were looking at cutting back in either services or possibly even closing. However, now several departments have taken it upon themselves to get the required training and are now running “First Responder” medical calls in their respective areas. This has already saved lives. By better equipping our firefighters; allowing for more and better training; installing much needed hydrants; the Raleigh County Fire Levy has made a difference. With future help of the citizens of Raleigh County through their continued support of the fire levy we can make our county safer everyone and allow the citizens that put their lives in “harm’s way” the tools and training to do the job.