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Applauding life-sustaining work

We would like to take a moment to commend the work of the fire departments and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agencies in Prince Edward County.

There are seven different fire departments that operate in the county. They include Farmville Fire Department, Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department, Meherrin Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Prospect Volunteer Fire Department, Pamplin Volunteer Fire Department, Darlington Heights Volunteer Fire Department and Rice Volunteer Fire Department.

All of these departments rely upon the help of volunteers, and therefore, all of us who reside in the county rely upon those volunteers to help provide us with a safe place to live, work and play.

The job these departments and the EMS agencies accomplish is one that involves work on both the countywide and individual department levels.

“We have our own associations,” Hampden-Sydney Chief L.W. Gilliam said. “All the chiefs meet together anyway each month, so everybody kind of understands already what everybody is doing. It’s just every department in Prince Edward County is all unique in their own way, and we all have our own call volume and our own cost.”

As Gilliam’s statement indicates, the departments work together to provide coverage for the county, while each also simultaneously deals with its own challenges. One challenge each department seems to be facing, however, is an increased workload as call volumes have risen substantially.

“We’ve had some protocol changes in the county, but it’s just call loads through everybody,” Gilliam said. “Everybody’s been picking up in the last three years. The calls that we ran in 2015 compared to what we ran in 2018 is a crazy amount of difference.”

We commend the seven fire departments of the county, including those that have EMS agencies, for the vitally important work they do.