For many volunteer fire departments across Raleigh County's laid-back hills and hollows, Father Time has caught up with them, and the results of his unwanted visits aren't very pretty. Old fire trucks, some of them going back almost half a century, need to be replaced. And that's no cheap undertaking. Even without equipment, a bare truck runs easily half a million dollars. Double the cost if it carries the devices need to pass muster with national standards.
Mix in higher fuel costs, rising utility bills, insurance rates, the mandatory Workers' Compensation coverage, and buying attire and equipment for firefighters, and, without an infusion of some big bucks soon, some departments could be parking their trucks for good.
Taking every expense into account, fire units say the $44,000 each year from the state and $8,000 furnished by the county simply do not cut it.
"On top of the fuel costs for trucks, there are oil changes, tires, brakes -- just the everyday stuff you to do to maintain your car, we have to do to the fire trucks as well," says Chris Hatcher, president of the Raleigh County Firefighters Association, which represents all 13 volunteer units and the Beckley Fire Department, the only paid one in the county.
Written by The Register-Herald
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix