Weston Fire Chief Kenny James presented Weston City Council with some new ideas and potential training improvements for the Weston Fire Department (WFD) at the council’s work session held after the special session of council Tuesday, July 24.
James noted that the Lewis County Emergency Medical Services (LCEMS) currently calls WFD for “manpower assists” within the city on emergency medical calls, and James noted that it may be better if the department responds when those calls come in, instead of waiting to be called out.
“It would be a bonus to our citizens to have us right out the door,” James said.
James also pitched the idea of certifying all paid firefighters in the city, as Emergency Medical Responders (EMR), adding that an EMR is just a notch below Emergency Medical Technician. James noted that the city would have to pay for the initial training and that each candidate would be allowed one retest, and upon a second failure would have to foot the bill for any subsequent retests.
City Finance Manager Dodie Arboghast asked if someone would come in to teach the course, and Councilman Eric Dever said that the training would likely be done by West Virginia Public Safety Training.
Dever also spoke in support of EMR certification saying that EMR’s are allowed to provide more medical services to patients than lesser trained first responders, adding that there are times that LCEMS may not have a crew immediately available to respond, and EMR training would allow Firefighters on scene to render more aid.
“I can see a lot of situations where that might make a huge difference in the outcome,” Arbogast said.
“It’s a win-win all the way around,” added Councilman John Wyllie.
Dever again expressed support for the idea calling it “awesome,” and adding that other cities of similar size such as Elkins and Williamson have already enacted similar policies.
James also brought up the idea of employing TargetSolutions, a company that specializes in online training to help Weston Firefighters with their continuing education training and re-certifications
James said the program would ease the re-certification process as a local administrator could easily log on to the program to oversee progress made by firefighters.
Dever added that similar programs had been used to help lower the Insurance Service Officer (ISO) rating for the city. Good ISO ratings can have an effect on insurance rates.
“It really is a good tool,” James said.
Council took no actions on James’ suggestions as it was a work session and the ideas had be formally brought before council for action.