Staffing, shortage of vehicles not affecting ability to protect the public

PETERSBURG, Virginia – First responders in Petersburg say they have faced issues with some of their emergency vehicles and a shortage of personnel.

Bubby Bish, of the Southside Virginia Emergency Team, said that although the city is covered in terms of EMS service, he believes the situation could be better.

“As of this week, the fire ambulance medic has been taken out of service,” Bish said.

The Petersburg Fire Department said it comes down to staffing and using firefighters on mandatory overtime.

“We were stressing out our staff, due to understaffing,” Acting Fire Chief Jim Reid said. “We are currently in a hiring process and due to the shortage we were working too hard with our employees.”

At the same time, the city’s three frontline fire trucks, purchased in 2017, also broke down.

“I brought two spare pieces from other localities,” said Reid.

If you live or work in Petersburg, you may have noticed a Richmond Town Fire Truck and Dinwiddie County Fire Truck at two of Petersburg’s fire stations.

Some firefighters tell CBS 6 they are concerned about fire truck maintenance procedures, but Chief Reid says whatever the name is on the fire truck, their ability to protect the public is not affected. .

“They are absolutely safe. We are committed to providing the best possible protection for our citizens,” he added.

As of Wednesday, the Richmond fire truck has been returned and the Dinwiddie truck is now in reserve.

The local firefighters union says it hopes the new fire chief who will be hired will address the problems.

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