New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | July 21, 2018

Five phase plan centerpiece to bring paid fire and EMS to Charles City

By Andre Jones | March 27, 2018 9:48 pm

Charles City leaders continue to heed insight and plans to bring paid fire and EMS (emergency medical services) to county citizens. On Tuesday night, a five-phase plan provided guidance to addressing the emergency needs.

County Administrator Michelle Johnson presented the plan to supervisors and the public for the first time. Johnson acknowledged that implementation of the plan won’t take place overnight, but it is a step into the right direction.

Phase one presents advertising an RFP for EMS to see if the county is getting the best price, including volunteer information in real estate bills to citizens, updating all mutual aid agreements with other localities, meeting with state representatives to apply for the necessary licenses to make Charles City a licensed agency, identifying county personnel to assist with emergencies during business hours, and developing training and certification programs for staff.

Implementation of phase two includes partnering with the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to supply first year funding for an additional ambulance and exploring funding options for equipment and personnel that may include a possible tax levy, financing of new equipment, and grants.

Phase three’s main goal centers around the hiring of a full-time director of Fire and Rescue services, something Johnson says she wants to do by July. The additional task in this phase is establishing standard operating procedures (SOP) for guidance.

Completing a full inventory list of equipment for all Charles City Fire and EMS workers is the centerpiece of phase four. More goals include servicing and replacing fire hydrants, applying for various grants to assist with infrastructure, personnel, and equipment, establishing fire districts, and enacting/enforcing the statewide Fire Prevention Code.

In the final phase, a needs assessment for fire and EMS will be conducted countywide for citizens to express and address concerns. An additional study will be conducted for the design of a new fire station in District 1, as well as a fire prevention campaign. A fire and EMS strategic plan will be created, and a comprehensive review of the county’s emergency operations plan will be the final piece of the phase.

After Johnson’s interview, District 1 representative and chairman Gilbert Smith was pleased with the goals of the plan but emphasized that citizens need to be patient with the process.

“This is a long road to travel but it is well worth it to save citizens’ lives,” he said. “We need all the help we can get to get through this fire and EMS process.”

The five phase plan is expected to play a factor into Charles City’s 2018-19 budget that will be presented at next month’s meeting.