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Chief Parsons set to retire.

After thirty-six years of public service the last twenty-five at St. Albans Chief Parsons is set to retire March 20, 2015.

The past eighteen years Parsons has served in the capacity as Chief and has been very successful in grant writing with bringing in over 1.7 million dollars in equipment and funds.  Parsons list some of his major accomplishments as replacing the entire fleet while Chief and in some instances some vehicles replaced twice.  Chief Parsons says he will miss being a firefighter but its time to go and let someone else come in with fresh ideas and energy.  The Chief said, "I want to leave on a high note and we just received a Class 2 ISO rating and a $100,000.00 procurement grant"  Chief Parsons said his future plans include working with his Christian street ministry, "Taking It To The Streets", working at the Christmas Tree farm that is owned by one of his friends, more fishing, hunting, four wheeling and spending time with his three grandchildren and a forth that is on the way.  "I want to thank all of the people that have been so good to me over the years and supported me.  I have been given by God such an opportunity to try to make a difference in peoples lives when it comes to emergency services, I pray that I have made a difference",  Parsons said.   St. Albans is so blessed to have the staff that they have and with such talent.  I will put them up against any firefighters anywhere Parsons went on to say.





St. Albans receives new Rescue Truck

The St. Albans Fire Department has taken delivery on a new rescue truck on May 20, 2013.

The new truck will replace the current 1999 rescue truck.  The truck which cost $209,000.00 was built by Emergency Vehicles Inc. in Lake Park, FL.  The truck took seven months to complete and will be responding to all medical emergencies, auto accidents and fires within the city.  The department purchased the truck with state, county and corporate grants as well as Kanawha County Public Safety tax revenue.  The truck will be stationed at the main station on 6th Ave. in the downtown district.  Chief Parsons said, “It is very important to me to provide the best equipment with the latest technology available to our staff.   This helps them to deliver a superior high quality service to our citizens.  The staff are highly trained and some of the best in the state, it is only right that we give them every tool available to help them complete their mission”  This truck carries a full compliment of auto extrication tools, breathing apparatus used in firefighting, life-saving medical equipment, confined space rescue equipment, rope rescue equipment  and thermal imaging cameras.





St. Albans Nitro Bridge Is No More.


St. Albans Side                                                          Nitro Side






Photos by: Captain Eric Mitchell


The St. Albans Nitro Bridge was demolished on March 1, 2013 for the St. Albans side and March 8, 2013 for the Nitro side.  The new replacement bridge is scheduled to be complete by November, 2013.



Shelly Moore Capito an Honorary Firefighter

Congresswoman Capito is made Honorary Firefighter

Congresswoman Capito was invited in April to be recognized as a staunch supporter of the fire department.  Working in conjunction with Chief Parsons she has secured $330,000.00 since 2004.


St. Albans Firefighters Softball Team brings home the championship.

     The first ever annual Guns and Hoses softball tournament kicked off Saturday, September 15th to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.  16 total team entered the tournament, 8 being from the Fire EMS side, and 8 being from the law enforcement side.  It was a single elimination tournament where only the strong survive and that is just what happened.  Fighting their way through tough competition, the Saint Albans Fire department (with the addition 2 Nitro and 3 Dunbar firefighters) and the Saint Albans Police department (with the addition of a few Nitro PD officers) both won their respective divisions, setting the stage for them to meet in the championship game.  After a friendly, competitive game, the St. Albans Fire Department team won out and were crowned tournament champions.  Both teams posed for pictures together for friends, family and fans and left Appalachian Power Park with their heads held high.  The city of Saint Albans, Nitro and Dunbar won the tournament but the real winner will be the kids.  With approximately $12,000 raised, there will be many wishes granted with the promise of more to come.




"Emergency Preparedness"


Receive Special Advisories Regarding Public Safety:

The St. Albans Fire Department is now using Nixel Alert to provide it's citizens with emergency notifications regarding incidents that affect area citizens.  Nixel is a FREE web-based software and allows an individual to receive alert text on their cell phones as well as e-mails.  To sign up for this free alert notifications click on the following link and follow the directions.  http://www.nixle.com/about.html




Be prepared for the next emergency.


     On June 29, 2012 the City of St. Albans was hit with a summer storm that produced 80 to 90 mile an hour winds.  After the storm had left the area the damage city wide was evident.  With between 95-98 percent of the corporate city limits without electric it was evident that it was going to take some time to restore power.  The City employees immediately went into action, responding to trees down, electric lines down and roads blocked.  The City does have an Emergency Response Plan and the Mayor activated the agency heads to action.  After it was released by the power company that it might be seven to ten days before all power is restored people began to panic.  There were long lines at gas stations, if you could find one open, or with gas, as well as any restaurants that were still operating.  The Governor declared a state of emergency and this made available additional resources to the city.  As with any emergency the first action is to remain calm; panic causes chaos.  Chief Parsons of the St. Albans City Fire Department offers some advice on pre-planning for emergencies.

     First order is not to panic, and one way to prevent this is planning ahead for emergencies and having extra supplies, as well as a plan of action.  Citizens must realize that the government is not going to solve all of your needs and have all the answers; one must be able to help themselves first.

·         Have an alternate relocation.  Have the agreement worked out ahead of time.  Possibilities include the homes of friends or relatives, motels, hotels, or a disaster shelter. Pets cannot be taken to disaster shelters unless they are assistance animals, so consider possible destinations with this in mind. Make sure you have more than one alternative. Once you've decided, write down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your choices.

·         Have extra prescription medicine on hand or get refills once you are down to a week reserve.

·         Keep bottled water on hand; two to three gallons per family member.

·         Keep numerous flashlights with extra batteries.

·         First Aid Kit

·         Keep a small amount of cash on hand.  Debit and credit cards don’t work when there is no power, neither do ATM’s.

·         Purchase an appropriate sized emergency generator, and know how to use it safely.  Contrary to belief the government does not have a free supply of generators to pass out during a disaster.

·         Keep an extra supply of non-perishable food items that don’t have to be cooked.

·         Purchase a battery operated radio or weather alert radio and keep extra batteries on hand.


In the event of high winds, such that a tornado would produce, know where to seek shelter.

·         At home, the safest place is the interior part of a basement. If an underground shelter is not available, move to an interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture and crouch down. Stay away from windows. Flying glass can injure or kill. Do not open windows.

·         In a public building, go to the innermost place on the lowest floor. Avoid windows, glass doorways and areas not sheltered by overhead floors and rooms (e.g., atriums). Don't use elevators - the power may go out and you could be trapped. Crouch down, protecting your head.

·         If you're in a car, get out of the vehicle and seek shelter in a nearby ditch, gully, or low spot; avoid trees. Don't get under a vehicle. Lie flat and put your arms over your head. Don't try to out drive a tornado. Cars, buses and trucks are easily tossed by tornado winds. The same advice holds true if you're caught outside on foot.

·         If you're in a mobile home, take shelter with family or friends who have basements, if time permits. Even if secured, mobile homes offer little protection from a tornado.

·         In an open building such as a shopping mall, gymnasium, indoor pool or civic center, stay away from windows. If possible, get to the restroom, which often is made from concrete block and offers more protection. If there's no time to go anywhere, seek protection right where you are. Lean against something that will support or divert falling rubble. Always protect your head.

     In addition to the disaster supplies kit you assemble for your home, you should keep a small disaster supplies kit in your car. Include a well-stocked first aid kit, a blanket, booster cables, maps, a shovel, flares, a tire repair kit, and a pump.  Store disaster supplies in waterproof containers, where they're quickly accessible in an emergency (e.g., if you live in a flood-prone area, store them on an upper floor - not the basement). Check your kit every six months, and review the contents to see if there is anything that needs to be added (e.g., new prescriptions, pet food for a new pet). Replace products that are nearing their expiration date (check with your pharmacist to verify the shelf life of prescriptions in the kit), and review written instructions to make sure they're still valid.

The American Red Cross is an excellent source of information on disaster preparedness. The Red Cross has a comprehensive list of disaster supplies that you can use as a model to assemble your own kit.  You can also find emergency preparedness advice and information in the phone book front pages.


During any crisis you must learn to depend on yourself and what plans you have made to deal with a disaster.  Remember, emergency services are going to be dealing with life threatening emergencies, not finding ice or providing gasoline, food and generators.  Your next emergency will go much more smoothly if you prepare yourself.




     After ten years in the making the department will be increasing the staff by three new firefighter positions.   This will be the first increase in staff since the early 1970's even though call  volume has increased 800% as well as the diversity in the types of responses.   At a recent City Council Meeting and Budget Hearings the City Council provided the necessary funding for three new positions.  At a time when other cities are laying off their firefighters and police officers the City of St. Albans recognizes the need to provide safety for its residents.  Chief Parsons was very pleased with the recent vote and will begin the process of hiring immediately.



     Smoke Alarms will be provided to city residents and installed for free while supplies last.  Call 304-727-2253 to schedule an appointment.  Smoke Alarms greatly improve your chances of surviving a fire through early detection and notification to you.  Contrary to what the movie industry shows through movies and television shows the smoke will not wake you up, most are killed by poisonous particles of combustion and you never wake up.



Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless,

colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural

gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home,

heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of

carbon monoxide.


A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of

time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time. In 2005, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 61,100 non fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of seven calls per hour.

Ø  CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

Ø  Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.

Ø  Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

Ø  Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.

Ø  Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ø  If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries.  If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire


Ø  If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.

Ø  If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow

Ø  During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

Ø  A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

Ø  Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.


If The Alarm Sounds

Take Appropriate Action:


Ø  Open the windows and doors to ventilate

Ø  Assess the medical condition of the occupants

Ø  if necessary, call the fire department


In most cases because of the low alarm threshold required by UL 2034, there is no need to call the fire department if the

residence is immediately ventilate and appropriate service personnel are called to investigate the source of the CO. 

By the time service personnel or fire department responders arrive, CO may no longer be present because the occupant

took appropriate action by opening windows and doors.  If any occupants are suffering symptoms of CO poisoning

call 911 for emergency medical services.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

The concentration of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm) is a determining factor in the symptoms for an average, healthy adult.

  • 50 ppm: No adverse effects with 8 hours of exposure.
  • 200 ppm: Mild headache after 2-3 hours of exposure.
  • 400 ppm: Headache and nausea after 1-2 hours of exposure.
  • 800 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 45 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
  • 1,000 ppm: Loss of consciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
  • 1,600 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 20 minutes of exposure.
  • 3,200 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 5-10 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 30 minutes of exposure.
  • 6,400 ppm: Headache and dizziness after 1-2 minutes; unconsciousness and danger of death after 10-15 minutes of exposure.
  • 12,800 ppm: Immediate physiological effects, unconsciousness and danger of death after 1-3 minutes of exposure.

Source: NFPA's Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition.

Remember a working smoke alarm in the home can save your life.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that kills without warning.

It claims the lives of hundreds of people every year and makes thousands more

ill. Many household items including gas- and oil-burning furnaces, portable

generators, and charcoal grills produce this poison gas. Following these

important steps can keep your family safe. 

CO Detectors

• Install battery-operated CO    detectors near every sleeping area in your home.

• Check CO detectors regularly to be sure they are functioning properly.

Oil & Gas Furnaces

• Have your furnace inspected every year.

 Portable Generators

• Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and

windows are open.

• Only use generators outside, more   than 20 feet away from your home, doors,

and windows.



PRESS RELEASE, "St. Albans Fire Department Receives Training Equipment Grant"

     The St. Albans Fire Department received word from the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) that it was a recipient of a C.P.R. Equipment Grant worth $1,500.00.  Mr. Stephens from Stephens Auto in Danville as well As Ruth Lemon, President of NADA presented the equipment to the department on December 9, 2011.  The equipment will be used to teach firefighters and police officers as well as community members.



PRESS RELEASE  "St. Albans Fire Department switches to UHF Radio Trunking System"

     The St. Albans Fire Department on June 10, 2011 at 8:00 a.m. changed the way that it receives and handles emergencies regarding its emergency radio frequencies.  If you had been wondering why you cannot hear the department anymore on a scanner it is because they are now part of the statewide trunking radio system.  With this type of communication you cannot be heard by a typical emergency radio scanner.  

     After 56 million dollars, 130 radio towers the statewide radio network is finally operational.  After years of delays St. Albans was permitted to start broadcasting its emergencies on the UHF P-25 system.  Chief Parsons stated, “It’s about time”.  “I never thought I would see the day before I retired that we would be using technology that had existed in other parts of the country for many years”.   The new system designed after 9-11 is part of the National Emergency Response Plan that allows all responding types of agencies the ability to communicate.  This system is a direct result of the attacks of 9-11 and the inability of police, ambulance, fire and other emergency services to talk to each other.  The system works similar to cell phones and will pass the first responder off from tower to tower as he moves through the region.  Previously if you traveled to far from your radio tower you had no ability to talk.  The radio system seems to be functioning quite well the chief stated and other emergency agencies in the Kanawha Valley are suppose to be brought online in a graduated process.  It is the hope of Kanawha County Emergency Management to have all municipal police and fire departments on line using the trunking system by the end of 2011.

    The system throughout the state was paid for with numerous federal grants from 2006 to present.  The fire department issued radios valued at $75,000.00 were paid for with a federal grant from the late Senator Robert Byrd, a FIRE Act Grant and with city funds. 



Electrical Fire on June 13, 2011 Provides Lesson.

     The St. Albans Fire Department responded on Monday, June 13th to a reported house fire to find the home owner attempting to put out an electric fire in his electric service box.  The family was home at the time and was alerted by the sounds of something popping and cracking.  Chief Parsons stated that the family was very lucky in that they were home at the time and discovered the fire before it had spread and became too large, damage was estimated at $4,000.00.  The home owner did a good job of using a dry chemical extinguisher to put the fire out, the chief said.  During the investigation to determine what caused the fire it was discovered that the service box was overloaded and pulling too many amperage for what it was designed.  The homeowner had stated a few days earlier he had a new larger air conditioner installed.  Mr. Charles Roberts of the St. Albans Building Department was notified and he too concurred with the fire chief that the electric circuit box had many different issues and code violations.

     The chief gave the advice that when having work done at your house there are steps you can do to protect your house and family.  Ensure that the contractor has a valid business license and they have attained a permit from the city building department.   The building department verifies contractors training and certification before being allowed to do work in the city.  Ask contractors for references of former jobs they completed.  Check with the state attorney’s office to see if they have had complaints filed against them for previous bad work.  Verify that they have liability insurance in case they do more damage than repairs.  The Chief stated that years ago he hired someone to cut down a tree and they cut it down on his house.  After the incident it was discovered they had no business license or insurance and he was stuck with the repair cost.  Never accept work done by someone who says they will do it on the side separate from the company they work for.  If they do something improper and cause a fire they are not protected from liability by their company and therefore you have no recourse except to sue the individual.




DATE: March 29, 2011

DATE OF INCIDENT: March 28, 2011, 9:36 p.m.

INCIDENT TYPE: Rescue from Tug Boat


     On March 28th at 9:36 p.m. the St. Albans Fire Department responded to a call for help from the Tug Boat “Reliant”, an AEP owned tug that pushes coal barges to the area power plants.  A employee had fell and broke his leg and they could not get him to shore.  The St. Albans Fire Department which moors a water rescue boat at Lou Wendell Marine year round was used to transport firefighters and Kanawha County Paramedic Jeff Holmes to the tug.   Once the patient was stabilized and packaged he was transported to shore to an awaiting ambulance where he was taken to CAMC General Division.  His injuries were not immediate life threatening.

     While completing the emergency regarding the tug boat employee the fire department received another call at 10:20 p.m. that there was a possible jumper on the Nitro St. Albans Bridge.  As the fire department prepared for what might be a water rescue emergency the St. Albans Police Department found the possible suicide jumper in the middle of the bridge.  He was taken into custody but later released and transported to his residence on Barrett Street.

     The fire department which employs 11 water rescue personnel is equipped and trained to handle all types of water rescue emergencies.  The fire department began performing these duties in 1980’s after pleasure boating started booming in the Kanawha Valley.  What started out as rescue divers has developed into swift water rescue and ice rescue as well.  Firefighters train year around in diving, ice rescue and swift water training procedures.  Fire department personnel have assisted all over West Virginia in the past whenever flooding occurs and are vital to the St. Albans area whenever an emergency occurs.



     With two state grants and other state funding the fire department purchased a custom designed water rescue boat at a cost of $31,000.00.  The boat designed by our own Lou Wendell Marine has greatly improved our capability and reliability.  The new boat has a motor three times the size of the older one.  The new boat is wider and six foot longer.  The department purchased and installed a crane lifting system to remove potential victims from the water as well as any heavy objects such as evidence recovered for the police department.  The department upgraded all the communications and sonar equipment as well.  The boat was placed in service a few days before Riverfest and was a much needed improvement.  This boat is docked year round at Lou Wendell’s at no cost to the fire department