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Volunteer firefighters elect new officers

The Butler County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments elected its new officers at its December 27 meeting.

Larry Creech, a member of the Georgiana VFD, was nominated and elected president of the association, while Deron Springer, assistant fire chief of Shackleville VFD, was elected vice-president. Debbie Marshall, a member of the Garland VFD, will serve as secretary, and

Bob Luman, Butler County Emergency Management Agency director, will continue as the association's treasurer.

Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams presented

$2,000 to the association on behalf of the commission.

&#8220We want to do this because of all the hard work that you do,” McWilliams said. &#8220You have to go out in bad weather and in hazardous conditions, and we very much appreciate what you do.”

McWilliams thanked outgoing president Chris Hilliard for the job he had done, and he wished the new president well.

&#8220Whenever you need something, we want to know about it, and we'll do everything we can to help you,” he said. &#8220We know you're underfunded, but you're a much-needed support for our communities.”

The $2,000 donation from the commission was divided into $500 allotments given to the four volunteer fire departments that received federal grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Fire Administration. Those four include Forest Home VFD, which will receive a new fire truck, Liberty VFD, which will receive operation and safety equipment, and Searcy VFD and Shackleville VFD, both of which will receive new fire trucks. The $500 for each department will be used to help pay the matching funds on the grants.

The Garland Volunteer Fire Department reported that it was 100 percent NIMS certified. NIMS, or the National Incident Management System, was developed so emergency responders from different jurisdictions could work together more efficiently when responding to natural disasters and emergencies. Also, all emergency response agencies will need to be NIMS certified by the end of 2006 in order to continue to receive federal funds.

According to several members of the association, problems continue with residents who do not have mailbox numbers or address numbers plainly in view.

Locating a residence without a visible address number during an emergency remains difficult for VFD members and hazardous to residents.

EMA director Bob Luman said that the CSX/ Emergency Response to Railroad Incidents training course and tests would begin after Jan. 1.

The next meeting of the Butler County Association of Volunteer Fire Departments will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Butler County Courthouse Annex Building #2, or the old Butler County Health Dept. building, located on South Conecuh Street.