Triangle Volunteer Fire Department is pursuing its own EMS license separate from the Halifax County Fire Commission, and Halifax County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution at Monday’s meeting allowing it to do so.
Triangle’s EMS Capt. Chris Bass brought the request to supervisors, which was unanimously approved with ED-2 supervisor Jeff Francisco abstaining from the vote. Francisco is assistant fire chief of the fire department.
Bass has been the EMS captain since 2005, and he said the “big issue” being with the fire commission is that if one fire department doesn’t carry its own weight, then everyone is held liable.
He said the fire commission failed its last two inspections.
However, TVFD were able to continue with a temporary license, he said.
“It’s best for our community to separate,” said Bass, who noted that the fire department’s membership came to that unanimous decision when they met on April 21.
ED-7 supervisor and vice chairman Garland Ricketts asked was there any budgetary concerns associated with this change, but Bass said the fire department’s budget would not change.
ED-6 supervisor Stanley Brandon then told Bass, “It does my heart good to see a volunteer up here and wanting to do better. It’s commendable.”
However, he felt that separating wasn’t the right answer. He told Bass that it takes commitment to work together and asked his department to share their knowhow.
But, Bass explained that they’d still be supporting the other fire departments, and he said they’d still be a part of the county fire commission.
“We’ll assistant any station that calls,” he added.
In continuing to explain their reasoning for wanting to separate from the commission, he said that some fire stations are experiencing too much turnover, and he said when someone knows they’ll only be a captain for a short period of time, he or she may not put in the effort that is needed to keep everything documented as needed for their license.
He said fire captains seem to rotate out every two years at some stations, and he also said the state recommended they pursue their own EMS license.
Francisco and county administrator Scott Simpson also noted that South Boston Fire Department already separated from the fire commission.
South Boston Fire Department approached supervisors in 2019 with their own request to pursue their own EMS license to ensure EMT services continue in its coverage area in case the fire commission’s license is not renewed.
North Halifax and Turbeville volunteer fire departments also have EMT licenses outside of the Halifax County Fire Commission umbrella.
Simpson also asked Bass what the difference was in advance life support and basic life support. Triangle’s resolution approving their request to obtain a separate EMS license grants approval of advanced life support whereas South Boston’s resolution in 2019 said basic life support.
“They have EMT basics; we have paramedics,” said Bass before going on to explain the various life-saving measures that the two could provide.
Ricketts then made a motion to adopt the resolution, which was seconded by ED-1 supervisor Ricky Short, and was unanimously approved with Francisco abstaining.
In other business Monday evening, supervisors denied a conditional use permit from Bob West of 10-4 God to operate a Christian ministry that targets U.S. veterans and troubled youth to provide temporary housing, wildlife adventures and biblical teaching at 1161 Arthur Ware Trail.
This matter had been tabled since January when supervisors held a public hearing in which numerous neighbors spoke in opposition of the permit.
Since then, West had met with county staff and Ricketts, and had discussed scaling down his operations for the time being to allow for him to gain the public’s trust before expanding.
They also discussed several conditions including having no one under the age of 18; having a maximum of four veterans at any time; and having permitted build outs to include a fellowship hall, horse stables, one bunkhouse each for veterans and staff and one bathhouse each for veterans and staff.
However, since that conversation, West notified county staff that he no longer agreed to the conditions and wanted supervisors to vote on the original permit request.
“I’m disappointed in that,” said Ricketts before saying he was not comfortable approving West’s operation at this time.
He made a motion to deny the permit, which was seconded by Francisco, and unanimously approved by the board.
During recognitions, chairman and ED-3 supervisor Hubert Pannell recognized the family of the late first sergeant Gregory Scott, who passed away unexpectedly on April 13. He was a member of the board of zoning appeals.
“He was truly a great man,” said Pannell.
During citizen comments, James Dixon of Clover requested a free box be put in Clover, similar to ones put in other convenience centers across the county, to house items for others to use if needed.