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ESD No. 1 strives to put people in places
LA VERNIA -- Personnel and facilities continue to be the top priorities for the Wilson County Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 1, said Michael Hanson, president of the ESD’s board, following the board’s July 12 meeting.
Hanson said those two themes also dominated the ESD’s June 30 strategic planning session, in which the board determined that it needs to continue recruiting and retaining volunteers for its firefighting service provider, the La Vernia Volunteer Fire Department. This will be accomplished by devising and implementing a professional recruiting plan, which he said currently is in the works.
Retaining reliable volunteers continues to be a problem for rural fire departments across the nation. In Wilson County, Hanson said daytime employment often takes potential volunteers to worksites outside the county, leaving the area vulnerable during those hours. Part of the recruiting plan, he said, would include encouraging employers in the county to cooperate with fire departments by allowing workers to leave work to answer fire calls.
With regard to facilities, Hanson said the district wants to continue improving its current fire stations. In that respect, the board voted to hire La Vernia-based Ranger Steel Construction to install a steel staircase and landing in the main station on U.S. 87. This will allow safe entry and egress to a recently completed upstairs addition there.
Hanson said San Antonio-based American Welding and Fabrication Inc., for which the contract was approved at the board’s June meeting, constructed the staircase and landing. The $8,000 price tag included the stairs, landing, engineering, architectural work, and more.
The board also is working to establish a station on F.M. 539 northeast of La Vernia, which Hanson said would provide better coverage to that part of the ESD -- especially in the event of a flood. Past flooding of the Cibolo, Alum, and Little Alum creeks has isolated residents in those areas from the main fire station. Homes there currently are several miles from any other fire station.
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