Hanceville Fire & Rescue getting new gear

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Hanceville Assistant Fire Chief Bart Absher confers with council members Jimmy Sawyer and Sharon Porter./ W.C. Mann

HANCEVILLE – With Mayor Kenneth Nail out of town, the Hanceville City Council’s agenda was fairly light Thursday evening, with much of the brief discussion related to the city’s fire department and public pool.

Hanceville Fire & Rescue

Hanceville Fire & Rescue (HFR) approached the council with a problem many departments wish they could have: too many firefighters for the amount of equipment it has.  After volunteers completed a recent training course that certifies firefighters to enter burning buildings, the department found that it did not have enough turnout gear (flame-retardant suits required for entry of structure fires) for all its now-qualified firefighters.

HFR Assistant Chief Bart Absher explained, “Once they got certified, now they are able to go into structure fires, and that is guidelines that we set forth when Chief (Rodger) Green started: unless you have the state certification, you can’t go inside a structure fire.  You can do other things there at the scene, but you will not go into that building. 

“With that said, the Fire College sets forth guidelines that our turnout gear has to meet certain qualifications, and the turnout gear that we have did not meet that certification . . . We need to order turnout gear for them, so they can have it.”

The anticipated cost of the supplemental gear is $5,500, but Absher said the HFR’s equipment fund is too low at the moment.  The chief’s request and the council’s unanimous response was to transfer surplus funds from the department’s building fund to the equipment fund to purchase the needed gear.

At present, all paid and volunteer personnel of the dozen-member HFR hold the following certifications: Volunteer Firefighter, Firefighter 2, Emergency Care Provider, and Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations.  Four are certified Emergency Medical Technicians, and three more are currently enrolled in EMT training.

Hanceville public pool

While not an agenda item, the council held an active discussion on the condition of the city’s public pool.  For the second time this summer, the pool had to be drained and treated for black algae earlier this week. 

According to Councilman Charles Wilson, the pool was drained, scrubbed clean, then treated with muriatic acid followed by copper sulfate.  He later remarked that repeated treatment with those chemicals could damage the pool’s liner.  After the pool was refilled, an additional chemical was put in to deal with minor brown stains left by the copper sulfate.  As of Thursday afternoon, the pool was considered safe and was open to the public.

After two bouts with algae, the council members were growing weary of the problem.  Councilwoman Kim Brown pointed out that both treatments had been done on the advice of one person (known to the council, but not publicly named).

Said Brown, “The same guy that’s telling us we need to change and do something different is the same one who sold us the chemicals.”

No formal accusation of wrongdoing was made by any council member, but the suggestion was put forth that the council should consider contacting another person for advice on the pool.

Other council business

The council voted to appoint Lacey McGriff to fill the Library Board vacancy created by the passing of Joann Walls, and Joyce Barnett to fill the seat of Melissa Duncan.

Police Chief Bob Long reported on the upcoming Kids’ Night Out celebration on Friday, Aug. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at C.W. Day Park. 

Said Long, “There’ll be tons of free food, chicken sandwiches, pizza, cotton candy, hot dogs, ice cream.  They’ll have four or five big inflatables for the kids to bounce on.  The mechanical bull’s going to be there, and this year we’ll have a rock climbing wall.  Usually the Cullman helicopter flies in, and we have a police motorcycle.  All the local law enforcement and first responders gather up, bringing in their large equipment.  It’s a good time for all the kids to get out and have one last good night of fun before school starts the next week.”

The Hanceville City Council meets the second and fourth Thursdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the city hall auditorium, with work session at 6.  The public is invited to attend.

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