First, we have to get there...
By Curtis Sheets, Chief, Wintergreen Fire & Rescue
When the damaging winds hit us in March, our crews cut trees and used winches to pull logs all day long. WPOA Road Maintenance, VDOT, and other fire departments also joined in the effort. As soon as crews would open Route 151 another tree would fall. Without our brush trucks, it would have been a much longer day.
But our two brush trucks handle more that threatening trees and limbs. We rely upon this equipment to move quickly and make an initial attack while the full-sized engines are slogging their way to the fire. If there are inches of snow on the ground, arriving at a 9-1-1 incident is a challenge for full-sized, two-wheel drive, fire engines. Our four-wheel drive brush trucks can put us at the scene rapidly with equipment needed to go to work.
And, of course, our brush trucks attack forest fires.
The 80 percent matching grant from Nelson County to buy two new brush truck will help meet a real need in our community. There has been a mailing and email newsletters on this opportunity. If you haven’t heard about our appeal, read more about it here.
We have a lot of trucks. Why? Are they needed?
Yes, and there are many good reasons why.
We must treat the Mountain and Valley communities as being exclusive of one another. It would take too long to drive from Wintergreen Mountain to Stoney Creek for us to be sharing essential equipment. Lives or property could be lost. Each station needs one fire engine and one brush truck.
Also, both the valley and the mountain communities have special needs. The mountain community has a need for a ladder truck due to its multi-unit, multi-story dwellings. The valley has a special need for a tanker due to much of the area not having fire hydrants.
And there should be one “rapid response vehicle” used to transfer manpower quickly back and forth to emergency scenes. All our SUVs have floorplans for all commercial structures and the supplies needed to serve as a command post on all incidents.
Rescue needs ambulances, of course. And we also need a “crash truck” to carry things such as our Jaws of Life, tools, ropes, structure collapse materials, etc. (“Crash Truck” and “Jaws of Life” are both outdated terms now, but you get the point.)
Our call volume doesn’t support one of these vehicles in each station, therefore Squad 1 is housed in the valley.
There is also an Advanced Life Support rapid-response pickup truck kept in the valley used to send medics out when our assistance is required in the far-reaches of the county.
We move our ambulances around depending upon the time of year. More ambulances are kept on the mountain during the winter than summer, for example.
When our response vehicles reach the end of their “reliable life” they are used for staff and volunteers to commute to essential training classes often offered in Virginia. (There was one semester recently when we had training going on in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg each Tuesday and Thursday night.)
When we’re done with a response vehicle we have been known to either cut it up or light it on fire for training. We leave no useful life in our trucks. The new brush trucks will replace a 1997 Humvee and a 2002 Ford F350.
If you can help us with this 80 percent matching grant from Nelson County, it would be appreciated. Click the "DONATE" button to contribute today.
Thank you for your support.