The state committee will look at ways to improve things like funding, training and incentives for volunteer fire and EMS personnel
By Amy Passaretti, The Outlook
Rural areas in Alabama rely heavily on volunteer fire departments as first responders to the scenes of medical emergencies and automobile accidents — not to mention fires. As a result, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon formed a joint legislative study committee on volunteer fire departments and community medical respondents. Tallapoosa County’s Rep. Ed Oliver (R-Dadeville) was named to the team for his personal experience in rural pre-hospital medicine as an air ambulance pilot serving central Alabama and his close work with VFDs in the area. He has a deeper understanding of the challenges these services face.
“This committee was developed to try to see if there’s a way to help fire departments be more efficient in rural areas,” Oliver said. “Three-quarters of all fire calls for volunteer fire departments are medical calls, so we’re looking at different ways to improve fire departments and ambulance services. These are your friends and neighbors that respond; that’s who shows up to these calls.”
The mission of this newly formed committee is to help these volunteer fire departments, comprised of mostly retired folks and younger adults volunteering their time, acquire the training and equipment they need to be more resourceful.
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Image: The Outlook