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Spotsylvania County officials move toward setting minimum training standards for fire and rescue volunteers
By DAN TELVOCK
Some Spotsylvania County fire and rescue volunteers are in leadership roles even though they do not have basic firefighting training.
County Administrator Doug Barnes will lead a special meeting Aug. 28 with county fire and rescue officials and volunteers at Germanna Community College to discuss how to make sure they get that training.
Barnes said he hopes the meeting of paid and volunteer officials will result in minimum training requirements for all fire and rescue personnel.
"We are trying to get buy-in from all of the organizations that we need to have minimum training requirements," Barnes said. "Then we need to figure out, how do we go about doing that?"
Spotsylvania County has a combined system of more than 300 volunteers and about 110 paid personnel.
Barnes has made changes to the fire and rescue system in the wake of a Feb. 5 fatal house fire in which firefighters struggled to find the victim even though she had been on the phone with a 911 dispatcher pleading for help.
Several experts who reviewed dispatch recordings and other details about that fire strongly criticized the response, saying there was a lack of leadership and no control of the scene.
Barnes has given the county's three volunteer agencies--Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue, Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department and Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad--until Aug. 24 to supply him with a list of training certifications for all members.
Chancellor Volunteer Fire and Rescue provided a partial list and the Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department provided a complete list of officer training to The Free Lance-Star this week after the newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request.
Spotsylvania Volunteer Rescue Squad has not completed its list of volunteer training.
According to the list of training certifications for all officers with the Spotsylvania Volunteer Fire Department, nine of 28 officers do not have either Firefighting I or Firefighting II certifications on file with the department. The SVFD also might have nine officers with expired CPR and emergency medical technician certifications.