Bath Local Emergency Planning Committee discusses delayed emergency response time to recent accident

04-21-14 Bath LEPC meeting

By Bonnie Ralston

At the April meeting of the Bath County Local Emergency Planning Committee, there was discussion about delayed emergency services response time to a recent accident due to confusion on the address. 

The accident was on Route 609 and the injured victim waited forty five minutes before the Burnsville rescue units arrived.

Harold King is the Vice President of the Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department and the President of the Bath County Fire and Rescue Association.

“I personally responded to this incident,” says King.  “I was within six miles of it and would have gone directly to the scene had I known where it actually was.  Instead I drove nine miles out of the way.”

The Burnsville rescue units were misdirected due to a failure to communicate the exact location of the accident.  There was confusion on the address when it was announced.

“Initially we thought it was 11670 something on Dry Run Road and it turned out to be 1167,” says King.  “Those two locations are ten miles apart.  One is north of the fire station.  The other is way, way south, right at the edge of the coverage area, where potentially Millboro might have been able to get there more quickly.  Given the initial information the correct department was selected and asked to respond by our 911 center.  Given the actual location, which turned out to be right at the edge of the Millboro coverage area, what we want to ask ourselves is if it’s on a fringe, on a border, potentially there might be two squads dispatched.”

King says the Bath County Fire and Rescue Association will discuss the incident and examine response criteria, coverage areas and, if for certain types of incidents, should there be a first and second unit dispatched simultaneously.  

“We will work that through with the fire and rescue association in cooperation with the 911 center,” says King.  “What we want to do is fine tune our coverage.  So that the proper unit can get there and that proper unit is whichever one can get there the most quickly.”

In other business at the meeting, Bath County Emergency Services Coordinator Andy Seabolt reported that he wants to pursue the creation of a Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters group in Bath County.  The groups, also known as VOAD’s, are mostly faith based organizations with volunteers that are trained to assist during disasters.  The VOAD groups have their own management, supplies and a coordinator to work with the local emergency operations center during a disaster.

Seabolt also reported that the Central Shenandoah Valley All Hazards Mitigation Plan and the Bath County Emergency Operations Plan had both been approved by the Bath Board of Supervisors. The county’s emergency operations plan will now be distributed to regional partners.  Seabolt said operating procedures and guidelines are being created to support the plan.  Maintenance of the plan will be ongoing and all updates will be approved by the board of supervisors.


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Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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