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Stafford Supervisors continue work on fire and rescue study
BY KATIE THISDELL
Several Stafford County supervisors hope to have a completed study on the Fire and Rescue Department by August.
But there are many questions to answer before the study can even start, including who will do it and what it will entail.
"We want to guard against generalities and making this a fluffy show," Supervisor Jack Cavalier said at a recent public safety committee meeting.
Discussion will continue at the next meeting, before a request for a study goes before the full Board of Supervisors.
Members of the committee are considering hiring an outside consultant, under the recommendation of County Administrator Anthony Romanello.
He advised against using the Virginia Department of Fire Programs, which offers free studies done by staff at various county fire departments.
He cautioned that these studies tend to focus on smaller, mostly volunteer departments. Spotsylvania County was one of the largest counties that was studied recently.
One question the board wants answered is what level of service Stafford should provide.
"I don't know that the fire program's folks are the ones to help you with that," Romanello told the committee.
The Fire and Rescue Department currently has a service-level goal of responding to 90 percent of calls within 8 minutes or less. The department is averaging 70 percent.
Snellings said this standard would be difficult to change.
"I'm more interested in what utilization we're doing right now--are we utilizing equipment properly, are we utilizing manpower properly," Snellings said.
Romanello has suggested supervisors hire a consultant to facilitate a conversation.
"It's amazing what you can get from the consulting world in this economic climate," Romanello said.
It has been 10 years since Stafford last had a study done on the department. Much has changed since then, including integrating volunteer and career personnel within the department.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975