Fire Department to Add Two Firefighters
Elkins, W. Va., March 18, 2021: The Elkins Fire Department will soon be able to assign three professional firefighters to each shift, increasing personnel safety and speeding response times. At last night’s meeting, city council approved adding two paid positions to the department, bringing its total staffing level from seven to nine full-time civil-service firefighters.
“This is your fire fee at work,” said EFD Chief Tom Meader. “EFD is totally funded by the fire-protection service fee charged to everyone the department serves, both inside city limits and in our first-due area outside the city. Without that revenue stream, we’d never have been able to grow like this.”
With only seven firefighters currently on staff, there are sometimes just two working a given shift, which Meader says is not ideal.
“Depending on the nature of the call, two firefighters is not always a safe minimum, so there are times right now when we have to wait for a volunteer to arrive before rolling out from the station,” he explained.
Once the two new positions are filled, EFD—which responds to an average of around 650 calls a year—will be able to assign three firefighters per shift, enabling the department to respond even faster when help is needed.
“With three on a shift,” said Meader, “we will be able to roll out within two or three minutes of being dispatched.”
The two vacancies created by last night’s council action will be filled from the department’s existing civil-service list, which was updated in the fall of 2020.
“We’ll be going down the civil-service list in order and putting candidates through our standard pre-hiring evaluations,” said Meader. “We look forward to welcoming two new firefighters into the department by about mid-April.”