Changes on the way for Hanover County Fire and EMS

Posted at 6:28 PM, Apr 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-13 19:02:11-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Some residents are concerned about the changes that are coming to Hanover County Fire and EMS because of a budget shortfall.

Linda Adamo and her husband Michael, who retired to a secluded area of the county a year and a half ago, are proud of the way Hanover firefighters do their job.

Last month, they spotted Hanover firefighters putting out a fire at a neighbor's house down the road while they were driving home.

“They really did a great job getting that out so they could repair that house.  I mean it's just basically the roof,” said Adamo.

Accordingly, when Adamo heard that a budget shortfall is causing Hanover Fire and EMS to change the way they do business, she was concerned it might dampen their ability to keep the public safe.

“I don’t know where they could possibly cut for the safety of the people, for the saftey of the fire people,” said Adamo.

According to fire officials, funding for things like volunteer training academies, repairing personal protection gear, and online EMS training, which were at one point in question, will be funded under the version of the 2013 budget passed by the Hanover Board of Supervisors last week.

But the department still has to rethink how it functions.

Additionally, some are worried about lowering the minimum number of firefighters that can take out a truck to respond to a scene from three to two.

“You are safe.  You are in good hands, and your safety and your welfare is the number one priority,” said Sean Davis, who serves on the Hanover Board of Supervisors.

Davis said tough decisions had to be made after the state mandated that counties pay to fund retirement and health care plans for firefighters costing $400,000.

“When you spend the money in those areas, unfortunately, the chief was left with decisions to make cuts other places,” Davis said.

Adamo just hopes the cuts won't be costly for Hanover residents.

“I don’t really know what the answer is but we just have to tread very carefully,” she said.