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Martinsville could eliminate part-time firefighters

Cut included in city's proposed budget

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MARTINSVILLE

When Martinsville firefighters arrive at the scene of a fire, part-time firefighters play a critical role.

“When we show up to a fire scene, we have a lot of decisions to make,” Martinsville Fire Chief Ted Anderson explained. “Our part-timers help to supplement that. When we show up without having the part-timers help supplement, we’ve got to make decisions; can we send our firefighters in?”

But, because of yet another year in which the city’s revenues remained relatively stagnant the city’s public safety budget had to take a big cut.

In an effort to be fair to other departments, yet still serve citizens effectively, Anderson said he recommended eliminating part-time firefighters.

“In order to provide the life-saving skills for our citizens, keeping our career staff to run the apparatus that we run is what’s most important,” Anderson explained.

If part-time firefighters are eliminated, that would limit the department to a max of six firefighters per shift.

That could easily lead to the fire department having everyone tied up on calls, especially during the frequent occasions, like Wednesday, when two EMS calls come in at the same time.

“While those medical calls were ongoing, our city was without coverage,” said Anderson.

The department currently has 12 part-time firefighters.

Christopher Bouldin was just hired on as a full-time firefighter after a year and a half of working part-time.

He said he knows the cut would be tough.

“It would hurt as far as their supplemental income, as well as it would also hurt the department as far as having trained people ready to go to full-time positions,” Bouldin emphasized.

On Wednesday night, Anderson planned to present the department’s situation to city council at the budget work session.

A second budget work session is scheduled for April 13 and a third for the 17.


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