Letters to the Editor

Issue 3 and Volume 153.

All departments must put safety first I am concerned that many rural volunteer departments tend to ignore Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Fire Protection Association, and other related regulations and standards. The mentality seems to be that those standards do not apply to us because they are not necessary and are too expensive to maintain and that “only paid departments have to abide by those standards.” I believe that we cannot afford to ignore them. The state of Virginia’s training system is very friendly to the volunteer departments, and many firefighters in the county have taken at least Fire Fighter I. But many of even the “trained” firefighters ignore important safety standards: Firefighters who can wear SCBAs have full thickness beards-even officers, who should know better. Some departments use turnout gear, with holes, from the ’60s and ’70s. Some use SCBAs that are not routinely tested. I could cite…

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