By Dave Maxwell

County Emergency Management Director Eric Holt told the Lincoln County Fire District board April 1 that his department requires a full-time fireman.

Holt noted that with his required management duties and state report paperwork, he cannot perform both functions at the same time.

Former Lincoln County Fire District Chief Rick Stever often said the same thing to the board.

Holt presented details of job descriptions created by a committee to study and make recommendations for hiring the position.

He said that, depending on a person’s level of certification, the committee recommended setting the pay scale for the position at the already established hourly state pay scale. The grades are Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 and EMT and EMT Advanced.

Sheriff Kerry Lee, also the Panaca fire chief, said it would be helpful to have a person who is cross-trained and qualified as both a firefighter and an EMT.

Holt said the job description included responding to wildland fires, not just local structure fires, and being able to operate the county’s engines on a wildland fire.

Commissioner Nathan Katschke, a member of the job description committee, said “the intent we have for hiring a full-time person is so that we run a wildland program in the summer, farm out the equipment, etc., and bring some additional revenue into the fire district.”

Holt said if a seasonal program were established, a seasonal hourly rate for qualified individuals would need to be set.

He said a full-time person and seasonal employees would help to fill some of the void that presently exists with the ambulance service, “Not 24/7 coverage, but some help.”

Holt explained that in the off-season the full-time employee would conduct training for local volunteers plus provide for equipment and vehicle maintenance. “There’s quite a bit of ADA training in outlying areas, outreach to the communities, risk assessments, equipment maintenance work that just gets neglected. The position will not just be sitting in the station waiting for a call.”

The headquarters will likely initially be situated at the fire facilities in Panaca.

The board unanimously approved accepting the Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 job descriptions and corresponding pay scales.