Virginia fire department chief requests additional funding

Shenandoah County, Va., Fire Department Chief Gary Yew said on Tuesday that the budget for fiscal year 2015 is more slim than he requested.


Yew had requested $3.95 million budget to add nine responders trained as firefighters and emergency medical technicians. County Administrator Mary Price offered a proposed budget of $3.15 million, the Northern Virginia Daily reports.


"I'll be the first to admit our proposed budget is very aggressive," Yew said, according to the Northern Virginia Daily. "The county administrator made some drastic cuts and I understand why. I don't take issue with any of that."


Yew made a presentation outlining the fire departments priorities and need for additional responders to county administrators during a budget meeting. Yew said the department would benefit from hiring four additional personnel to cut current overtime hours that are incurred, the Northern Virginia Daily reports.


The chief said he planned on hiring five responders to cover the Orkney Springs Volunteer Fire Department, seven responders for the South Battalion Engine Company and five responders for the North Battalion Daylight Engine Company. Yew told county administrators that responders work 24-hour shifts and burnout due to overtime hours is not uncommon.


"It's not unusual for a lot of people to leave a 24-hour assignment, drive right to another station and work an additional 10 hours, and we shouldn't be doing that," Yew said, according to the Northern Virginia Daily. "We're killing our folks."