Gilmer County Fire Department Information #1 – 04.29.12
This is the first of a series of articles to inform the people of Gilmer County about their fire department and to provide useful information that can help them protect themselves and their families.
The Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department was established on May 12, 1947. It is organized as a IRS 501(C)3. The board of directors consists of two members from each station and a chairman which meet once a month. The fire department serves the entire county of 340 square miles accessed by over 500 miles of public and private roads with five stations located in Cedarville, Glenville, Normantown, Sand Fork and Troy. It is unusual compared to other fire departments in West Virginia because it serves an entire county with multiple stations.
The fire department responds to fires, automobile accidents, calls for assisting ambulance crews, highway blockages involving fallen trees and rock slides, downed power lines, alarm reports, hazardous material incidents, reports of leaking gas, and missing person reports. The fire department also provides support and training for the Project Lifesaver program administered by the sheriff’s department to allow those with diminished capacity to be found if they disappear. Typically the fire department responds to about 140 incidents per year.
Through mutual aid agreements, the fire department assists fire departments in other counties such as Doddridge, Lewis and Ritchie Counties. In turn those fire department assist Gilmer County when necessary.
The fire department currently has 56 active volunteers. Becoming a firefighter requires taking a 140 hour firefighter 1 course including hazardous material familiarization, first aid and CPR. Firefighters recertify on first aid and CPR every two years. Training continues with additional courses following completion of the firefighter I course.
Training is often conducted at the Glenville station with some members attending classes elsewhere in the state. Most recently the fire department has utilized the training resources of the West Virginia Fire Academy in Jackson Mills. Most of the firefighters’ training is paid by the fire department with the exception of occasional courses that a state or federal agency may offer for free.