Town Talk 01/14/20: City’s Fire Study Finds ‘More Personnel Needed Now’

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100.1 FM / 1450 AM WIZS; Local News broadcasts M-F 8am, 12pm, 5pm

Henderson Fire Chief Steve Cordell appeared on WIZS Town Talk Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Cordell discussed current activities involving the fire department including the City’s recently completed fire study, the annual smoke detector campaign and the upcoming county-wide campaign to be held in partnership with the American Red Cross.

Following up on a news story aired last week on WIZS 1450 AM/ 100.1 FM and posted online at WIZS.com, Cordell said years of talks with the Henderson City Council and City Manager Frank Frazier resulted in the budgeting of a fire study conducted and recently completed by outside company Management Solutions for Emergency Services.

According to Cordell, the study was completed prior to the Christmas holidays and results were presented at the Henderson City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting held January 8.

The biggest takeaway from the study is the recommendation for the construction and operation of a third fire station in the western part of Henderson, with a suggested location of the Dabney Drive and 158 Bypass area.

Henderson is currently served by two fire stations located approximately one mile apart: Station #1 at 211 Dabney Drive and the historic Station #2 at 205 N. Garnett Street in downtown Henderson.

While just the first step in what would most likely be a lengthy process if pursued, Cordell said the study indicated what is needed now, prior to another station being built, is additional personnel.

“We currently have 30 firefighters assigned to shifts and four in administrative positions for a total of 34 certified firefighters. The staffing level has been the same since Station #1 was built on Dabney Drive in 1974. The study advised that we are in need of 12 additional personnel now to be fully staffed on fire engines and fully staffed on ladder truck response.”

Currently, the fire department responds to calls with two fire engines and either a ladder truck or rescue vehicle, depending on the situation, Cordell explained.

Smoke Detector Campaigns

Cordell reported that the City’s current annual smoke detector campaign, which begins anew each November, was 75% completed by the end of December.

“We finished the campaign for three-fourths of the city right before Christmas,” said Cordell. “Now we have the last 25% of the city to reach, so will start working on that again very soon.”

Started in 2009 after a Vance County family lost several of their children to a house fire, firefighters go door-to-door each year offering residents a free home inspection that includes checking for fire hazards, replacing old/broken smoke alarms and replacing batteries on working units.

To assist those in the county, the Henderson Fire Department, in partnership with the American Red Cross, will team up with NC Central University, Vance County’s fire departments and other community volunteers and organizations on Monday, January 20, 2020, for a “county-wide fire inspection canvassing event.”

Tune in live to WIZS Town Talk this Wednesday at 11 a.m. for more information on the county-wide event.

With questions regarding your smoke detector, fire safety or to schedule a time for a free home inspection, please call the Henderson Fire Department at (252) 430-1877.

To hear the interview with Cordell in its entirety, go to WIZS.com and click on Town Talk.

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