WILLIAMSON — Mingo County Fire Chief’s Association (MCFCA) President Jerry Mounts was the guest speaker at Monday’s monthly meeting of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, which was held at the Los Amigos Dos Restaurant (the former location of the Brass Tree) Prichard Street in Williamson.
The recently opened Mexican restaurant joined the chamber, along with the Law Firm of Lambright and Knopp and the Mingo County Housing Authority.
Mounts addressed those in attendance and spoke of the upcoming Mingo County Fire Levy that will be voted upon by the citizens of the county on Saturday, March 23. Mounts emphasized the importance of the Levy and how it will improve the quality of emergency services being rendered by the eleven fire departments that protect the safety and the welfare of area residents.
Chief Mounts explained that as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the Charleston, S.C. sofa fire on June 18, 2007, the fire service in the U.S. has been hit with tough federal standards requiring all departments to undergo new training, purchase new and updated equipment, and ensure that all equipment is tested and certified on a regular basis.
Chamber members were informed of the high cost of specialized equipment that certified fire departments in Mingo County are required to have and also heard how the funds generated from the Levy are to be dispersed.
The itemized list provided by the chief states that it takes approximately $9,070 to outfit each firefighter properly. This equipment includes a helmet, Nomex hood, coat, pants, suspenders, gloves, boots, portable radio, accountability tag, survivor light and a SCBA.
The required minimum equipment on a Pumper Fire Apparatus totals $54,124, and that of course does not include the expensive price tag placed on the truck itself. The $50,000 plus total includes such items as three different sizes and types of ladders, fire hose, nozzles, various hand tools, portable hand lights, fire extinguisher, a first aid kit, adapters, spare cylinders, traffic cones, etc.
Mounts spoke of the fact that there are numerous pieces of other equipment that are utilized on a regular basis by area firefighters that include but are not limited to a Jaws of Life, vehicle stabilization devices, rescue rope and rescue basket, rescue saw, portable generators, thermal imaging camera, firefighter foam, etc. This list carries an amount of over $70,000.
Additional expenses are incurred at every fire station in Mingo County, such as annual PM’s that cost $2,800 each time they are performed (4 times a year is required), annual pump tests ($1,000), annual hose tests ($4,380), annual aerial maintenance ($1,500), annual ladder inspections ($1,200), annual SCBA Comp. Insp. ($1,500), annual SCBA Test ($2,700) and annual Jaws of Life certification and maintenance ($1,600), for a total of $25,600 per department.
Mounts added that these amounts do not include each department’s utility bills, property insurance, liability insurance and worker’s compensation.
At the conclusion of the meeting, members of the chamber went on record endorsing the upcoming March 23 Levy and encourage others to do the same.