GRAFTON—When duty calls, the members of the Grafton Fire Department are ready to assist, and sometimes their help is needed in a neighboring county.
Recently, the department was called upon by Preston Comm, Preston County’s 911 Dispatch center, to be on standby for swift water rescues due to rapidly rising waters and flooding.
Six members from the department loaded up in two trucks, Unit 106 and B1, towing behind them Boat 1, a boat trailer equipped with two rescue vessels and Dive 1, the department’s dive trailer.
Among the six firefighters present, three are members of the Grafton Fire Department Dive Team. The members took up shop in the neighboring Rowlesburg fire hall, alongside members from Masontown, as well, ready to spring into action when needed.
“We were ready for action, but luckily we weren’t called upon to go into the water,” shared firefighter Jarrett Cunningham, President of the Grafton Volunteer Fire Department. “Although the area experienced flooding, the water receded quickly.”
Grafton Fire Chief Wayne Beall noted that the department is always willing to help those in need in other areas.
“All fire departments work together, no matter where the county lines sit. We know our fellow departments would be here for us in a heartbeat if we needed them, so we make sure to do the same for them,” he expressed.
This past year, the department was able to purchase a double stack swift water rescue boat trailer, designed and manufactured by Wilson Works in Morgantown. The purchase would help ensure the safety of not only the community but of the members of the department and other communities in need.
“When one rescue boat is launched in the water, it is policy to have a second one ready to go on the scene, in the event it is needed. This trailer will ensure that two boats are always present,” shared Cunningham.
He reported that this was the first emergency call the new rescue boat was called out on.
The Grafton Fire Department also houses the dive team for Taylor County.
“This team responds to any emergency where divers are required, not just in our county, but in surrounding counties, as well,” explained Cunningham.
The department’s divers that are certified in SCUBA, the acronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, used by the divers to breath underwater.
The dive team is also on a call-out list with the West Virginia Office of Emergency Management. The divers are available to respond throughout the state, wherever their services are needed.
Beall said that the department utilizes a dive trailer, that houses all of their dive equipment, including their suits, tanks and an on-board portable refill station for their tanks, and had the need arisen, the divers would have been equipped with all the items needed.
“The Grafton Fire Department strives to provide the best service we can to the community, and without the continued support of the residents, we wouldn’t be able to provide our services. Our motto is Pride Protecting People, and all of the members of the department truly take pride in what we do daily,” Beall commented.
He added that he would like to thank the members of the community that have continued to support the department on all of the endeavors.
“I would also like to extend my gratitude to the mutual aid companies that come when we need their assistance, and would like them to know we are always a call away when they need us. We could not do what we do without the strength of the community behind us,” he imparted.