The regular meeting of the Blanco Volunteer Fire Department and Board took place Tuesday, July 2.
Chief Hicks reported that the Treasury Report was ninety-two cents off and that he would continue to “work on it.” Board member Al Turner replied, “You’ll spend more money on finding it than it’s worth.” The treasurer's report was approved.
The fire department made four runs in the month of June. They were all motor vehicle accidents and Chief Hicks said it was “the slowest month since I’ve been here.” The average run time was eleven minutes, from the tone to the time of arrival on the scene, which Chief Hicks said was “not all that great, but under the fifteen minute mark.” Board member Vance Jenkins mentioned that there “must be external factors affecting the time.” Chief Hicks replied that some of the runs had been “far away” and that at night it does take some time for volunteers to arrive at the station. The average run time for the year is nine minutes.
The issue of procuring a LUCAS Chest Compression System was dropped, as the Fire Department is not a first responder.
An Emergency Vehicle operations class is scheduled for October 18 and 19. The class needs fifteen participants and will be held in the Fellowship Hall of the Church of Christ. The class is covered by insurance. The Chief has invited Johnson City Fire Department and EMS in order to fill the class.
For new business, Chief Hicks requested approval from the board to block off the unused back dock in order to create a storage area or office space separate from the main office. The Chief did not have a monetary figure to present to the board. Board President Harvey Lindeman asked if they were “just going to frame it, and sheet rock it and put a door on it?” Chief Hicks replied that that was the plan. Al Turner made the point that they would need a city permit. The Chief replied that he would get a price before approval.
Harvey Lindeman brought up the subject of advertising their need for volunteers in the Blanco County News. Merannda Button, Editor, told the board she had “seen a similar ad that had run in previous years.” She explained that she could find that ad for reference and the board could make changes as they saw fit.
A discussion about the future of the department followed, beginning with Vance Jenkins expressing his thrill with Harvey Lindeman joining the board. He was pleased to “pass the baton” to Harvey, saying that “his level of lingo is so far beyond anything I can fathom, with regard to all the mechanics... of what we are going into. It’s going to be extremely instrumental.” He went on to say, “It’s paramount... that we’re on top of the game. Big time.”
Al Turner agreed, saying, “It’s a big boon having [Harvey] here. I for one am absolutely grateful. I don’t want to lose sight of the goal. My goal is right here; the people of Blanco County.”
Harvey replied, “We’re not going to lose sight of the goal. What’s going to happen here is that the EMS and the Fire Department are going to be together, in a new building, in a couple of years down the line. And everybody’s going to wind up being first responders. It’s going to take time to do that. We have to get everybody trained, and we need more people to do that. Other than that, it’s just full steam ahead. I think it’s an opportunity for young people to come in here and get some training, and it’s been my experience that if you can train people to do better in life, they will come back and reward you for it.”
The next order of business was two purchases, one for two sets of bunker gear and one for an appliance for letting air out of the hoses. Both purchases were approved by the board as needed items.
Chief Hicks told the board that both vehicles passed their annual pump test and also presented the board with a preliminary inventory of everything over $100 that would be required by the Emergency Services District if the new contract went through.
The Board meeting adjourned.
The Fire Department meeting was called. They had no new business except for the volunteers to mark their calendars for the Emergency Vehicle operation class in October.
Chief Hicks also explained to the firemen at the meeting that “there has been talk, from several sources, of wanting to hire a State Qualified paid Chief. The by-laws would have to change in order to accomplish that.” The Chief asked for opinions on the matter. Firefighter James Smith said, “I don’t [think we should], as far as a paid Chief, I just don’t see it. It seems like it’s getting taken away from the volunteers. Eventually it’s just going to be a corporate company.”
Lieutenant Duane Tomlinson asked who the Chief would be working for. Chief Hicks replied “Right now the Chief would still be working for the corporate board because we’re still a private corporation.”
James Smith said that he would like to see Chief Hicks remain in the position, to which the Chief replied, “I intend to stay until they say I’m replaced.”
The Department meeting adjourned.