RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Russellville Fire Department is moving forward with the process to bring a emergency medical service officer on board full time.
Fire Chief Joe Mansell said it's an addition that comes with changing times. Mansell ran the first medical calls from the department there 23 years ago. Since then, it's become a big part of their daily operations.
"Just like any city fire department, we don't run as many fire calls as we run EMS calls," the chief said.
His crew can be anywhere within the city in just minutes. So, bringing an EMS officer on board full time to add to the help is a benefit Mansell said he's been working toward for about a year now.
"City leaders are on board with the idea," Mansell added. "They gave us the go ahead to start working on this, since it's a position that will help the people of Russellville."
Those people pay their salary Mansell said. So, it's their job to serve them as best they can. Adding an EMS officer is just another step.
"Now, we're trying to get a job description, taking it to civil services. It's a whole process that you have to go through before you actually put somebody in that position."
State standards for fire departments have changed over the years. The department needs someone in place to focus solely on medical calls.
"The State will come in and do inspections, and it's getting harder and harder. But, it's a good thing. When you're dealing with people's lives you want people coming in looking to see if you got what needs to be done."
The chief says several already working with the department are qualified to fill the position, and are putting in applications.
"I think they'll bring something to the table. They'll just make where we're at today even better."
However, it will be a few months before the new officer is in place and ready to serve. Mansell said they are also pushing for some new training classes and even a few raises for the department this year.