New plan could create county-wide emergency system

Pittsylvania County

PITTSYLVANIA Co., Va. (WSET) -- There are more than two dozen emergency service departments in Pittsylvania County, but there is not a county-wide system.

According to County Administrator David Smitherman, a new plan would repeal certain codes and create a new system.

Smitherman shared that the plan is based on a study that gave recommendations.

He said the overall theme is accountability and oversight, adding that there could be room for consolidation in the future.

Smitherman explained that this is a just a framework, but the goal is to have uniform standards. "It is imperative that we work to better our service, to better our response rates, to improve the allocation of taxpayer money and make sure our citizens are getting the absolute best service."

He admitted that there is some hesitation.

ABC 13 spoke to the chief of Blairs Fire and Rescue, Dean Fowler. He said they are aware of the proposed plan. The Fire and Rescue Association met with department chiefs in the county and board members from various departments. We're told a board of supervisor member was also at this meeting. They went over this proposal, expressing concerns and what they are okay with, telling us they recommended some of this plan. They say the board has now taken a look at that.

"They (the supervisors) are focused at doing the right thing and what is best for the county as a whole, both fire and rescue and citizens and citizens is the bottom line," says Fowler. "That's the ones we've got to protect."

We're told this plan would be enacted upon approval, but right now it's just scheduled for a public hearing. The county administrator says supervisors could deliberate more on this and not vote. That hearing will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the General District Courtroom.

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