New Fire, Rescue Group Proposed

A proposal is moving forward to create a Rockbridge Fire and Rescue Association to be composed of representatives of all of the fire departments and rescue squads in the county, Lexington and Buena Vista.

The Rockbridge County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing and consider approving formation of the RFRA at the supervisors’ next regular meeting on March 23. If approved, the RFRA would be formed, effective July 1, replacing the Rockbridge Regional Fire and Rescue Commission, which would be dissolved June 30.

The nine-member commission, formed in 2011, is composed of one representative of the Board of Supervisors, one representative of each of the two city councils, two members of the Rockbridge County Firefighters Association, two members of the Rockbridge Emergency Rescue Group, a citizen/ consumer representative and county fire/rescue chief Nathan Ramsey.

The RFRA would be an area-wide organization that would meet monthly to discuss and make collaborative recommendations related to fire and emergency services operations to Ramsey, who in turn reports to the Board of Supervisors.

An objective of creating this single association is to gather input from all of the departments and present unified recommendations for operations and budgetary matters. Having three different organizations — the RCFA, RERG and the regional commission has sometimes led to conflicting recommendations.

RCFA supports the creation of the association while RERG has expressed concern that its rescue squad members, being fewer in number than the fire department members, would not have as great of a voice. Ramsey pointed out that RCFA and RERG, as organizations created independently of the Board of Supervisors, could continue to exist, should they choose.

The 2011 agreement establishing the commission provided for dissolution by any of the jurisdictions with a 90-day notice. If the association is approved March 23, that would allow the requisite number of days to dissolve the commission by June 30.

The News-Gazette

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