Pittsylvania County receives grant to aid response to mass-casualty events

Extra medical supplies, equipment will now be purchased and stored in a trailer

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – First responders in Pittsylvania County are working to be able to save more lives in the event of a mass-casualty situation.

Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the county is now able to buy medical supplies and equipment to help treat victims.

Five thousand dollars of the grant came from the state; the remaining $5,000 came from the county's fire and rescue budget.

Pittsylvania County Public Safety Coordinator Chris Slemp said Mt. Hermon Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ernest Terry came up with the idea.

"This is something you don't use every day, but when you need it, you really need it, and we didn't have one. It'll benefit not only the entire county, but the whole region," Slemp said.

The supplies and equipment will be stored in an unused box trailer at the Mt. Hermon Volunteer Fire Department.

"I think it's great," Slemp said about Terry taking the initiative to help create a mass-casualty trailer for the county.

"We have a very dedicated group of people here (in the county) and when they do see a need, they will certainly do everything they can to fulfill that need."

Additionally, the county has also received a grant to purchase generators for six of the county's volunteer fire departments that do not currently have generators.

This will allow the fire departments to serve as temporary shelters in the event of an emergency and it will ensure that the departments are able to respond to calls even if power is out at the department.

"You have to have power to recharge your tools, some of the fire service apparatuses need to be plugged in and charging all the time. Just something as simple as getting the (bay) doors up can be a real challenge when you don't have power," Slemp said.

The generators are expected to take several months to get installed.

The mass-casualty trailer is expected to be ready to use by the end of spring.