Springville formalizing policy for firefighters
Date: Friday, April 30 @ 00:00:30
Topic Our Towns

Springville officials are formalizing a policy to allow city employees time away from work to act as volunteer firefighters.

City manager Layne Long said the effort is part of the city's recent emphasis on putting some of its long-held oral policies on paper.
City employees have been allowed to work as volunteer firefighters for decades.

"There are a lot of practices and procedures we are just formalizing into policy," he said. "We are just going through our employee handbook. It's nothing new or different, we are just writing it out."

Fire Chief Phil Whitney said the city has 32 volunteer firefighters, four of whom are city employees -- including two police officers.

"There has been no conflict; we've never had a problem with it," he said. "We are just trying to get it in writing."

Long said police officers may not be able to leave their police duties to fight fires. Such cases will be decided by supervisors as they arise.

"There are certain situations where certain positions may not be able to respond," he said.

Whitney said firefighters are paid for their time when they respond to fires, though he declined to say how much the compensation is. City employees will receive their regular city wages in lieu of their volunteer compensation if they respond to a fire during regular work hours.

Long said a draft of the policy has been approved by the city's wage and personnel committee, and a final draft will be added to the city's records as soon as it is completed.

The city depends on volunteers to protect residents against fire danger, he said.

"It is a valuable thing when you have a volunteer fire department, and it is nice to be able to have not only city employees but other employers in town to participate in the program," he said. "As a city we support the volunteers just as much as the businesses in town."