Changes ahead for DFD

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 31, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; When Fire Chief Ronnie Few was first interviewed for the position he told the City Council he had changes in mind. When the council voted him in as chief in August, he reiterated his plans for the department. Now, with six months under his belt, Few continues to promote changes for the DFD.

One modification already taken affect under Few&8217;s leadership is the transition from a fire department to a fire and rescue department. By cross training firefighters with Emergency Medical Services and first responder courses, the department is now equipped to handle more emergency calls, Few said. He hopes to have this component of their service in operation by March or April of this year.

What this will mean is an increased call volume, which currently averages about one call per day. Since Few became fire chief, the department has grown to 24 firefighters, with three more recruits expected to attend 13 weeks of fire college in February.

Another adjustment in the department is the establishment of three quality control committees, one of which handles policies and procedures, a system Few says brings consensus to the department.

One of the issues the policy and procedures committee will tackle is a motto for the Demopolis Fire and Rescue Department, a practice Few has previously done during his career as a fire chief. A motto is a way to put out a mission statement for the department, said Few, and it can be used as a &8220;morale builder&8221; in the department.

In addition to incorporating a third station into their department in the near future, Few said he has at least one more big alteration to make: a major reorganization.

Some of this reorganization includes restructuring the way personnel respond to fire calls. Whereas now a more seasoned or veteran firefighter drives the truck to the call site, operates the hose and does other duties, Few said he hopes to put these firefighters in a management position on calls in order to assess and handle the situation. Few said he hopes to enact most of these changes within the next year.

Furthermore, Few said he hopes to establish precedents in the department by recruiting women, hiring an administrative assistant and creating a full-time training officer position.

With all of these adjustments for the department, Few said he is confident the firefighters support his plan.