By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
A word most people never like to hear is audit. This usually is a time of stress and hustle to prepare documents and inventory to show you are meeting the requirements for your respective areas. It is no different for the local fire departments. Every five years, the State Fire Marshal sends a team to each individual fire department to review everything over the past five years.
Parsons Volunteer Fire Chief Kevin White received notice of his impending visit a month or so prior to their arrival. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure all requirements set forth by the State Fire Marshal are being observed. This means every hose, ladder, breathing apparatus, and tool must have been thoroughly inspected in its respected timeframe and those proofs of such must be presented to these evaluators. All of the 40 firemen volunteering have an individual file. Each of these personnel files were also reviewed to ensure everyone is keeping up with their training and certifications. “It’s a top to bottom audit, there’s nothing left unturned,” White said.
White explained that in the instance of a minor infraction, the department can be given a timeframe of two to three months to correct this issue, and once proof is shown it will be dismissed. However, in the case of a severe discrepancy is discovered, these auditors have the ability to shut down a fire house. If that happens, work can be done to work towards improvements followed by a filing for re-instatement to be considered.
White explained this is only the second time he has been solely responsible to prepare for this audit since it has been implemented. During the evaluation last year, a minor infraction was detected and corrected immediately. This year, through diligence to serve Tucker County to the best of their ability, the State Fire Marshal representatives were proud to offer Parsons Volunteer Fire Department a perfect score.
Thomas was also on the schedule for this intense and detailed evaluation where Chief Joe DiBacco was responsible for preparation. They too were awarded recognition of a perfect score. White noted that of the 27 departments in the area who were recently evaluated, ten received perfect scores. Both fire departments have worked hard to ensure all standards were met and even exceeded upon not only to pass this evaluation, but to serve the citizens in our county.