Larry Todd, who took over as chief of Williamsburg Fire and Rescue last year, has several goals for his department that he would like to see accomplished before he retires.
Among those goals are acquiring a ladder truck for the department, possibly forming a regional confined space rescue team, and getting a new Advanced External Defibrillator (AED) for the department he recently told the Williamsburg Kiwanis Club during its January monthly meeting.
Todd said the department did have an AED for several years, but it is outdated and he is trying to find funding to get it replaced. An AED can be used to shock people and save their lives during a heart attack.
“We would like to keep one or two in our vehicles because we often get there quicker than the ambulance service does,” Todd said. “We have usually four ambulances in the county so the fire departments can get there a lot quicker.”
Williamsburg firefighters previously saved four people with their AED before it became outdated, Todd noted.
Todd added that he is checking into emergency medical training for firefighters that would be a level below the training for EMT’s.
“That way we could do a little bit more than the first aid training we have now,” he said.
Todd noted that in his more than 20 years with the fire department, has seen a lot of changes.
For instance, fire trucks went from holding 500-800 gallons of water when Todd first started to the department’s three current trucks that haul 1,000 of water in their tanks and can pump 1,500 gallons per minute.
“We have an aging fleet. We need to replace those down the road,” he said. “We would like to place a ladder truck in the city. One of my goals before I retire is I would like to see a ladder truck sitting in the fire department here.”
Todd said that the city is working with Firestone now and, if there is enough interest, he would like to create a regional confined space rescue team, which would cost between $17,000 and $25,000 just for the basic equipment.
Todd said that such a team would be useful for a fire in a place like a factory.
“Confined space is anything where you have one way in and one way out. At Firestone, they have trenches where there is one way in and one way out,” Todd said.
He noted that city coffers are stretched pretty tight so the fire department is working to get more grant funds and things of that nature in order to meet its goals.
Todd said he also is working with the American Red Cross to hopefully institute a program that would provide people with smoke detectors.
The fire department currently has five paid full-time firefighters and one paid part-time firefighter. The balance of the firefighters are volunteer firefighters, who receive no pay and don’t even get a uniform.