Right decision in Chuckatuck

Published 10:49 pm Thursday, March 1, 2018

The decision to ask the Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue to staff the Chuckatuck fire station around the clock every day was a good one by the Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department.

The Chuckatuck Volunteer Fire Department has been around since 1954, and the dozens of members it has had over the years have provided excellent community service. The department has been an integral part of the community, as it has not only responded to emergencies but also offered an opportunity for volunteerism, trained young folks in an important and worthwhile profession and provided a gathering place for the community.

But it has become clear in recent years that something needed to be done differently. With more demands on their time than ever, volunteers weren’t able to devote as much time to sitting at the station waiting for calls to come in. Call volumes have increased, and efforts to recruit new volunteers were not as successful as had been hoped.

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Previous iterations of a solution also proved unsuccessful, and the 24/7 career staffing has even been proposed before but nixed at the last minute. In the meantime, the volunteers, the career firefighters and most importantly the community have all endured a period of uncertainty of what was happening.

The new plan was set to start Thursday, and we anticipate that things will continue to go smoothly.

Unfortunately, the city will incur overtime and other related costs as part of this plan, and the additional staff at the Chuckatuck station will initially decrease the number of firefighters at other stations. We hope that won’t last too long, as the new budget will take effect in July, and Suffolk Department of Fire & Rescue Chief Cedric Scott is expected to propose something that will allow all the fire stations to be fully staffed and bring overtime costs to a minimum once again.

We anticipate that the Chuckatuck volunteers will continue to be an integral part of the community, in whatever form they deem best.