Yadkin County Fire & Rescue
The Board of Commissioners is authorized by North Carolina General Statutes to create Fire Service Districts and Rural Fire Protection Districts (once approved by ballot), to levy property taxes and set tax rates within those districts. The Districts’ governing body is the Board of Commissioners and they contract with fire departments to provide fire services within the District. Currently, the County contracts with one fire department in each district and each department submitted a budget request to the County for funding in FY2021.
The County started a turnout gear reimbursement program in FY2018 through the General Fund and expanded the program in FY2020 to include Viper radios. The contractual amounts in the Fire District Funds exclude the reimbursement program, as it is funded in the County’s General Fund. Nine (9) of the Volunteer Fire Departments and the Rescue Squad have taken advantage of this opportunity since its inception.
Volunteer Fire and Rescue Departments across the United States, as well as in Yadkin County are struggling to recruit and retain their volunteers. Depending upon the location within the county, some departments struggle finding volunteers to respond to calls during the day and others struggle at night. The volunteer departments within Yadkin County are implementing ideas to help recruit and retain volunteers, from reimbursing them per call, hiring part-time employees, increasing part-time employees’ rate of pay to exploring residency programs. Several have been awarded grants to help with recruitment, marketing and staffing.
The training requirements, as well as the risks associated with firefighting have increased and are impacting volunteers and their families. Surry Community College does not currently offer Firefighter Certification classes at the Yadkin Center and those members needing the certification classes have to travel to Dobson. Training needs are forcing Departments to explore new ways to provide training and to meet the requirements.
In Yadkin County volunteer fire and rescue departments are faced with aging apparatus (some trucks are approaching 30-40 years) which having costly repairs and other equipment such as thermal cameras and air bottles that need replacing. The FCC continues to make new requirements for radios. First it was narrow-banding and now it’s in order to communicate with all agencies, radios must have the ability to communicate on the VIPER network. This means purchasing radios that will function on the County’s analog system, as well as the VIPER digital system. Five of the county’s volunteer fire departments have also been awarded 50/50 grants from the NC Office of the State Fire Marshal to assist with equipment replacement.
The fire departments need three main things to provide fire protection service: trained volunteers, trucks/equipment and water. The need to access water either by running hose, establishing water points or investing in pumper trucks is challenging in rural communities. Last year, all ten of the Departments pulled together for one water haul inspection by the State. It is a model that has been exemplified all across North Carolina!
The volunteer departments work hard with limited resources as non-profit organizations to provide a needed service to county citizens. They are all working to lower their ISO rating to assist citizens and businesses in their respective Districts with lower insurance rates.
There are parts of the county that are not within the 5- or 6- mile range of a fire station or sub-station which prohibits citizens in those areas from benefiting from lower ISO ratings. This needs to be addressed with realignment of the ISO districts, as well as response districts.
The Yadkin County Rescue Squad has been a vital part of our community since the 1970s. They continue to be largely volunteer-based with some additional part-time employees. The Rescue Squad provides standby support for Yadkin County Emergency Medical Services when their units are already in response to medical calls. The Rescue Squad also maintains a water rescue unit. The Rescue Squad is funded through the County’s General Fund.
The Yadkin County Rescue Squad (Squad) was the original fire responder agency with members located throughout the County and is recognized as a “heavy rescue squad” by the NC Association of Rescue and EMS. The Squad is the primary provider of rescue services in the county, maintaining equipment for technical rescues such as building collapse, trench cave-ins, confined spaces, backcountry and water based incidents.
Yadkin County is home to many skilled and talented fire, ems and rescue members who also serve as instructors for Surry Community College (SCC) in their public safety programs. These instructors provide logistical support and experience to SCC’s basic and advanced classes.
VOLUNTEER FIRE AND RESCUE DEPARTMENTS
ANNUAL CONTRACTUAL RATE
FY2020 Actual Contract
FY2021 Requested Contract Amount
Approved Contract Amount
VOLUNTEER FIRE and RESCUE DEPARTMENT CASH ON HAND
In the Request for Funding, each Volunteer Fire Department reported having the following cash on hand.
Equipment / Truck / Capital Fund
Relief Fund or Other
VOLUNTEER FIRE and RESCUE DEPARTMENT CALLS CALENDAR YEAR 2019
(Includes Fire, Medical, Service, Rescue calls as reported to the Office of the State Fire Marshal)
Arlington Fire & Rescue #16
Buck Shoals #21
East Bend #14
Fall Creek #15
Lone Hickory #24
West Yadkin #18
Rescue Squad #9
FIRE DISTRICTS’ TAX RATE