All – we wanted to follow-up and clarify some things as we have seen quite a few comments on various social media platforms and other discussion groups depicting the Huntersville Fire Department as deeply understaffed and struggling to handle calls for service. These types of comments and posts began after we shared the plan to consider adding some full time staffing to the department ranks. The comments we are seeing could not be further from the truth as we are fortunate to have passionate, dedicated, and professional part-time and volunteer members serving our department and this community everyday, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have used this successful hybrid model for over 23 years now and our members (part-time and volunteer) are all certified NC Firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians. The majority are professional full-time firefighters in other local agencies (Charlotte, Concord, East Lincoln, MEDIC etc.) too. HFD remains one of the busiest departments in the County and we run well over 6,300 calls a year and are rapidly approaching 7,000 calls – yet we handle this volume from 4 different stations with our current part-time/volunteer staffing model of 100 members. These proud, professional, tireless members are hurt by some of these reckless and false comments…from fellow neighbors no less.
So, why are we looking at full-time staffing? Simply put within the last few years we have noticed a major decrease in volunteer applications as well as part-time employment applications. To prepare for the HFD of the future, we sat down with a committee of 3 Town Commissioners and Town staff to discuss slowly transitioning towards full-time, Town of Huntersville, firefighters. We chose to recommend a gradual approach, slowly adding full-time headcount over multiple years, while still also using part-time and volunteer members to help respond to calls. We noticed similar success at the following, local departments (Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Steele Creek, Matthews etc.). Don’t forget, we are busier (higher call volume and Station count) than the Departments mentioned. The current Town council voted on this approach back on Oct 16th and it was defeated during the vote (4-3 opposed). Some Commissioners wanted to wait until new Town Commissioners and Mayor were elected and we hope for a new vote in December.
If you are a resident of Town and you are worried about whether HFD is and can respond to your next emergency – rest assured, all is well. We have NOT missed a call yet and we don’t intend to. We have you covered 24/7 at all 4 fire stations. We take pride in our response record and we don’t EVER intend to let you down. A recent example, last Saturday – we responded to a working house fire at around 5:30pm, while on scene and handling that call we were hit for 6 other calls for service within an hour and 20 minute window- every one of those calls were responded to and handed, quickly and professionally. We don’t skip a beat. You trust us (and expect us) to respond to calls and we will NOT let you down. We’re still the same HFD. Just because we’re responsibly looking towards future staffing solutions, doesn’t mean we’re in trouble and can’t handle call volume. Nothing bad or concerning has happened to warrant this.
We want to take a moment to thank our members for their tireless and dedicated work. THEY are the heart beat of our Department. Members have been with us for many, many years. Their family members before them have served our Department. We love this Town. If you need us, call us, we WILL be there.