Volunteer Firefighters Fear Proposed Guidelines - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/14/05-Tyler

Volunteer Firefighters Fear Proposed Guidelines

Wood County and parts of Smith County rely of the Mineola Volunteer Fire Department for service. Whenever there is a fire or medical emergency they head out to help.

"We're usually the first people on the scene. We're not trained to paramedic level, but we can stabilize a patient, take their vitals," says Volunteer Chief David Stephenson. He says if new guidelines are adopted by the state legislature, the volunteer department may not be there to help you in your time of need. The guidelines are demanding the volunteers get EMC-EMT training, the type of classes a paramedic would need. Chief Stephenson say the training is something the volunteers can.

"The money issue alone would be astronomical for the fire department to receive this training then there's the time issue," says Mineola Volunteer Fire Department Chief, David Stephenson.

The training requires daily 8 hour classes that last a year or longer. A big problem when the volunteers often have full time paying jobs.

"Would you then say if these guidelines were out in place people lives could be at stake? Very possiby," says Chief Stephenson.

Right now legislators are just gathering information on adopting the guidelines. That's why many of the volunteers are contacting their state representatives asking them to turn down the proposal. And they hope you will join them in contacting local representatives to get the message across.

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