The Caroline Progress

Follow Us On:

BG volunteers unsure about training standards

Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

MILFORD – Fire and rescue personnel have asked Caroline County officials for money for training as supervisors and the rank-and-file hash out minimum standards for training.

Fire-Rescue Chief Jason Loftus has been working with volunteer and career fire and rescue workers to draft guidelines for minimum training, a task he was given by the Board of Supervisors in February.

Supervisor Floyd Thomas, speaking at the board’s May 28 meeting, told fire and rescue personnel “to work together” to establish guidelines that are agreeable to everyone.

Thomas made the statement after Brian Marmaduke, president of the Bowling Green Volunteer Fire Department, told the board that volunteers would meet June 11 to “decide if they want to accept” the new guidelines as written. The proposed guidelines would allow a district chief to step down and later return to the same position without additional training, he noted.

Supervisor Jeff Black asked if all departments in the county had sent representatives to the work sessions on the guidelines. Six out of eight active departments were at the work session, said Marmaduke.

Jason Satterwhite, vice president of the Bowling Green Volunteer Fire Department, told the board that no training classes are currently scheduled in Caroline County for fire and rescue workers. “It’s imperative that we have training in-house in Caroline County, and I’m asking for funding,” he said.

Thomas told fire and rescue personnel the county had appropriated funds for training -$7,000 for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

“Realistically, that won’t cover all the training,” assistant county administrator Alan Partin said later in an interview. “We are trying to offer more opportunity in the county where it’s more convenient and make things easier for the volunteers and even the career fire and rescue workers.”

Under the proposed guidelines, enforcement of training minimums would take effect Jan. 1. Those who joined after Jan. 1, 2011 will have two years to complete minimum training. Those who joined between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 1, 2011 will be allowed to test out of training minimums. Those with membership prior to Jan. 1, 2004 will be eligible for some “grandfathering” so that they won’t have to take as much training as newer fire and rescue personnel.

The proposed guidelines, which are on the county government website, go into detail about required training in a variety of areas, including CPR and hazardous materials.