ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Cumberland Trail Fire District No. 4 currently is up to full strength in its full-time ranks after undergoing several changes since the first of the year.
Fire Chief Ken Saffell also reported that the fire district personnel, as of the end of May, had responded to 812 emergency medical service calls and 207 fire responses, which is 125 calls above the same period last year.
In regard to the changes since Jan. 2, Saffell, who had been serving as assistant chief, became chief of the department on the retirement of Chief Greg Reline. This left the position of assistant chief vacant.
PERSONNEL changes have occurred in Cumberland Trail Fire District No. 4 since the first of the year, and there has been an increase in calls in the first five months of 2012, compared to the same period last year. Members of the Cumberland Trail Fire District No. 4 are, front row, from left, Daniel Grady, Mike Lollini and Brian Harvey while in the back row are Curtis Kyer, Mark Sommers, Ken Saffell and Lance Rice.
"Then on Jan. 27, 2012, the fire district suffered the tragic loss of Lt. Kevin West. While laboring through the process of filling Lieutenant West's position, full-time firefighter Bryan Holmes elected to move on to a position within the oil and gas industry," he said.
After months of interview processes, developed evaluation processes and mandated physicals, the district is now up to full strength in its full-time ranks.
"Getting our staffing up to a set daily number is vitally important to enable us to continue to provide the quality of service that our residents expect," Saffell noted. "I would like to commend our staff on the quality and quantity of work that they have performed over the course of the last five months, especially during one of the most difficult times that our fire district has faced internally. Their service and dedication is greatly appreciated by the administration of the fire district."
In addition to the aforementioned changes, Michael Lollini was hired in March from the part-time ranks into the vacant full-time firefighter position.
Other major changes occurred at the fire district's April 25 meeting in regard to appointments, promotions and hiring of personnel.
At that time, Lt. Mark Sommers was appointed as assistant chief, leaving another lieutenant position vacant. Firefighter/Paramedics Lance Rice and Curtis Kyer were promoted to the vacant positions in the lieutenant ranks, opening up two more full- time firefighter positions.
Also, Daniel Grady, who had been working on a part-time basis, was hired for a full-time post. The final full time vacancy was filled at the fire district's May meeting when Brian Harvey was hired out of the part-time ranks.
Firefighter/emergency medical technician Mitch Friede of Centerville, firefighter /paramedic Matt Hamsher of New Concord, firefighter/EMT Intermediate Jordan Lowery of Cambridge have joined the part-time ranks at the Cumberland Trail Fire District since the first of the year.
Joining the part-time ranks in May were firefighter/EMT Matt Keesey of Cadiz and firefighter/paramedic Kyle Jones of Barnesville.
Chief Saffell emphasized that the hires and promotions are part of the process to maintain quality service to the district's residents.
"We utilize nine positions Monday through Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 and eight positions on Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 to 16:00. During the whole course of the week from 16:00 to 24:00 hours, there are eight personnel on duty at a time and from 0:00 to 08:00 the staffing is reduced to six," he said.
Saffell further explained that the staff members function from two fire stations operating two engines or an engine and ladder plus three ambulances.
Regarding the response to 812 EMS calls and 207 fire responses as of the end of May, he said, "This is 125 calls above where we were at this time last year and is putting us on pace to break our all-time high call volume of 2004 of 2,439 combined calls."
The fire chief also wished to remind residents of the importance of checking their smoke detectors for proper operation.
"The early detection that is provided by your smoke detector could very well save your life," he said.