Firefighters say no more funding means cutbacks in services

(Abingdon-AP) -- A sign of the strapped-budget times: Abingdon
Fire Department oficials say they'll have to cut services.
The fire department has gone through three consecutive years of
level funding from Washington County, and officials say they have
to trim services to keep up with growing expenses.
Chief Joe Burke says the department has adopted stricter
guidelines for dispatching firefighters to car wrecks. Firefighters
won't control traffic, care for patients or do clean-up duty. They
won't respond to calls with unknown or possible injuries, or
situations in which injuries occur well after the wreck.
Burke says he hopes the new policy will reduce the number of
times the department is dispatched by about 20 percent annually.
Money saved will be used for training, equipment and upkeep of the
fire station and vehicles.
Abingdon officials say nearly half of their fire department
calls are out of city limits, to help county residents.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)