Stallings VFD cited for training violations

Aug. 06, 2013 @ 03:26 PM

Stallings Fire Department paid a $6,300 penalty for violations cited by the N.C. Department of Labor.

NCDOL inspectors found four serious violations during May inspections. Fireman face masks were not properly fitted before being used, employees were not given medical exams to evaluate ability to use respirators, air cylinders were out of date and the department had no written Exposure Control Plan for contact with blood or other infectious materials.

Stallings VFD staff was given a July 22 deadline to resolve the problems. Three of the four violations carried a $2,100 penalty.

Stallings Fire Chief Charlie Porter said the violations were honest mistakes.

"We've already fixed everything. Some of it was fixed within the first day after the inspection," Porter said.

Employees and the VFD board had begun writing its own NCDOL-compliant procedures about six months earlier, but were not done.

"We took the air bottles out of service that day the inspectors were there and then pulled anything off the trucks that was too old to use," Porter said.

Employees were given medical evaluations before being given masks, but the paperwork was not where it should be, leading to another violation.

"But we worked with the state. They've been very good to work with and we've managed to fix everything," Porter said. "We did miss some stuff earlier. We've worked really hard to fix everything and it's where it should be now."

The $6,300 fine came from the department's budget of nearly $1 million.

No firemen were hurt in the meanwhile, Porter said.

"And we're still out there trying to keep the community safe," he said.