Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department
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We hope the information on this page will help you make an educated decision on our Fire Referendum on

August 11th, 2020 General Election. 

If you would like additional information please contact our Fire Department at (864) 839-6061

or email Fire Chief Donovan Ford at Chief@blacksburgfire.com

 


BLACKSBURG VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT 

FIRE REFERENDUM

 

Dear Residence, Supporters, and Citizens,

The Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the generous support our community has given to their volunteer fire department over the years. The members of Blacksburg VFD and its board of directors have found that it is critical to seek a fire tax district in order to maintain and improve emergency services throughout the department’s response area.  With rising operating cost, aging Life Safety Equipment, and stricter NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) Regulations has demanded more funding to operate fire departments nations wide and your support plays a vital role in the ongoing effort for your Volunteer Firefighters to provide the fastest, most reliable fire protection and medical services you depend on.

Since 1889, The Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department was organized to serve the residents and businesses of Blacksburg SC. With a growing residential and industrial population comes with larger area of responsibility and we are always in service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is no question, we are in very difficult economic times and nevertheless, firefighting and emergency services on a 24/7 basis is a very expensive business. While allocations from the Town of Blacksburg and Cherokee County covers portion of our expenses, creating a Fire Tax District will provide great benefits for the citizens of Blacksburg SC in multiple ways.

As Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department has recently overcome many obstacles while still providing the greatest fire service protection possible, we still face challenges and disadvantages as the driving cost of emergency services increase yearly. From staffing, training, funding, recruitment and retention, sacrifices are made daily to ensure fire service protection is provided to the citizens of Blacksburg.

We are dependent on the response and generosity of residents like you. Your financial support is what gives our Volunteers the ability to keep responding every day. Within the packet provided you will find document that will provide a clearer point of view and explanation of what the Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department is attempting to achieve.  Therefore, show your support and vote Tuesday August 11, 2020 to help establish a fire tax district within your area. Your support is greatly appreciated.

 

TO SUPPORT THE FIRE REFERENDUM

PLEASEVOTE ON AUGUST 11, 2020!



 


 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING THE PROPOSED BLACKSBURG FIRE REFERENDUM:

(COMING UP ON AUGUST 11TH)

 

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO?

The money is collected annually by the Cherokee county tax assessor’s office through your normal tax collection. This money is then sent directly to the Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department’s financial office.

 

 

WHAT IS THE FUNDING USED FOR?

The money is used as a stable income for the volunteer fire department to ensure that equipment upgrades can be made. This includes the following:

  • Funding will help establish a fire apparatus replacement cycle to ensure that old trucks can be replaced with newer trucks that provide more safety for our personnel and more reliability when responding to calls.

 

  • Funding will be used so a replacement plan can be established to purchase turnout gear, air packs, rescue tools and other life safety equipment.

 

  • Funding will establish paid staffing at the fire department during daytime hours when most volunteers are working full time jobs. This will assist with trucks responding to calls, as well as increase our ability to interact with the public during business hours. These personnel will all be trained in a wide variety of emergency responses.  They will have daily duties assigned to them including maintenance, cleaning, office duties and emergency response.

 

  • A stable income for the department is needed in order to project future expenses including the purchase of new fire apparatus. Due to the rising costs of the trucks, loans must be financed for several years in order to pay for the trucks. By having a steady and stable income, this allows the fire department to know what we can afford over time and ensure the money is there to make the payments each year.

 

  • Funding collected will be used for annual truck maintenance. As the age of our truck fleet grows older, maintenance becomes a bigger issue due to wear and tear. Not only does the money allow us to replace trucks, but it will also allow us to properly repair current trucks until they can be replaced. A fire truck is a “working truck” which means it is much more than just a ride to the emergency scene. Once the truck arrives at a fire scene, it converts to pump mode and then continues to work by providing water to the crews conducting fire suppression. At times, theses trucks pump for 2- 3 hours depending on the size and complexity of the fire. Tasks such as this adds mechanical stress to the truck and its components. A guaranteed income will allow us to cover any maintenance costs that come from this type of use.

 

  • Funding will allow our department to have personnel at the fire station that can meet the needs of daytime visitors. Currently, our personnel come and go throughout the day as they work jobs and tend to their families. A staffed station will ensure someone is there to meet with vendors, provide inspection and investigative reports, provide building tours, and conduct maintenance. We also have numerous “drive up“  medical calls where motorists stop at the station to address medical emergencies. Staffing of the fire station can begin with approving the referendum and can increase over time as funding allows and as additional staffing is needed.

 

  • Funding will be used to cover costs of our personnel’s safety and wellness. This includes annual “fit testing” of our air pack facepieces and personnel physicals. Items such as these are required of us in order to meet national standards set forth by agencies such as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).  Being that cancer is one of the largest risks that firefighters face, it is imperative that we protect the health and well-being of our personnel!

 

 

ARE MEMBERS OF THE BLACKSBURG VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES OF THE TOWN OF BLACKSBURG? WILL THE DAYTIME STAFF BE EMPLOYEES OF THE TOWN OF BLACKSBURG?

No.  Although we have a good working relationship with the Town employees and the Town administration, we are indeed a separate agency.  In addition, we are currently 100 % volunteer.

 

 

WHY STAFF THE DEPARTMENT?

Although we have always been a volunteer fire department, changes over time have presented some challenges nationwide. Increased training standards require personnel to attend hundreds of hours of training to become a firefighter or medical responder. Meeting these requirements while working a full-time job and raising families has become nearly impossible for many. The drastic increase in call volume has challenged the volunteers as our department now responds to more than 750 calls per year. Staffing our department will allow paid drivers for our apparatus who can get trucks to an emergency scene, allow personnel to remain on scene with investigators or hazardous clean up crews, restock trucks after the calls, and perform simple maintenance tasks. This greatly reduces the time our volunteers must spend on each call and ensures they can return quickly to their jobs or families. As funding increases over time, and as our district progresses, additional staffing can be added to meet future needs. Although daytime staffing will increase our efficiency, volunteer members will still be the core of our department.

 

 

WHAT IS AN ISO RATING?

An I.S.O rating is a number that is provided by the Insurance Service Office (I.S.O.) that basically rates the local fire protection. This includes a variety of things including water supply, firefighting apparatus and equipment, firefighter staffing and training, emergency communications and other items that evaluate the readiness of the local fire protection. The rating scale is from 1-10. An ISO rating of 1 is the best rating a department can get. The Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department currently has a rating of 3. That is incredibly rare for a department that is completely volunteer!  Fire department personnel have worked extremely hard for many years to achieve such a great rating. This rating is used by insurance agencies and risk managers to help determine your homeowner insurance rates (basically, the lower the ISO rating of your local fire department is, the lower your homeowner rates are). Passing this referendum will help us fund the necessary projects and upgrades to keep that rating low and possibly lowering it even more. If the referendum does not pass, then keeping this rating low will be a difficult challenge. Losing the low rating could cause higher insurance rates within the fire district. Together, we can pass this referendum to ensure that doesn’t happen 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FIRE REFERENDUM DOES NOT PASS?

There is no doubt, approving this referendum is vital to the success of our fire department and to the safety of those in our response district!  Without a stable income, we cannot project ways to cover future cost increases of trucks and life saving equipment. Without this referendum, our volunteers will be tasked with conducting fundraisers and benefits just to keep the department going as we strive to meet the national standards and progress into the future. This requires them to spend endless hours away from home and give up weekends and holidays in attempt to raise money to keep progressing. If the current fire referendum does not pass, then the fire department will have to propose the referendum again in hopes that the public will vote for it the next time. Currently there are only 3 volunteer fire departments in Cherokee County that do not have an established tax district. Blacksburg is one of those departments. All other volunteer fire departments in the county have already formed a tax district and many of them have hired daytime staffing as well. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE IN THE BLACKSBURG FIRE DISTRICT TO PLEASE VOTE YES FOR THE REFERENDUM!!

 

 

IN SUMMARY:

The Blacksburg Volunteer Fire Department strives hard to provide the best fire and rescue service possible to all people in and around the Blacksburg Fire District. Our volunteers give so much of their spare time to serving the community. They spend endless weekends and holidays responding to emergencies and attending training classes. We want to continue to be a progressive department and provide the very best services for our community. We humbly ask all registered voters in our district to show up at the polls on AUGUST 11th and vote YES for the fire referendum.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us at 864-839-6061 or stop by the fire department so we can address your questions and concerns.

 

THANK YOU!!!

 


 

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