GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — A volunteer fire department in Greenbrier County is working to bring easier emergency access to their area.
With miles of ATVs trails and backroads spread out throughout the rural area, saving time can make all the difference during a rescue. First responders with the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department are working on a way to save more time and lives.
In the past, whenever emergency medical services made the request for a helicopter, it would have to land on a two-lane road or field. Now, any helicopters needed can land right behind the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department.
The nearly complete helipad sits next to the former Rupert Elementary school on land donated to the fire department by the board of education.
As helicopters are requested more frequently, longtime volunteer firefighter Bruce Alley said this brings new access to the area.
“Now they fly the helicopter for heart attacks and strokes it depends on the situation so if they can land here and get them to Charleston or Roanoke quicker we are a lot better off,” said Alley, who is the Vice President of the board of directors for the Rupert Volunteer Fire Department.
For the volunteer fire department, this is one of many ways they are trying to expand their capabilities.
“It’s kind of like the jaws of life its nice to have them we don’t want to use them, for that matter the firetrucks we don’t want to use them, but when we need them it is nice to have them,” said Alley.
As for the rest of the land populated by the former schoolhouse, Alley said they have had several discussions with the town about how to best use the building.
One idea includes putting in senior living apartments. He believes the helipad would be very useful if one of the senior citizens required medical attention.
Alley said the process to put in the helipad cost a little over twenty thousand dollars. However, every life they can save because it is worth the price.
“That’s what we all do, we are a small department, we are all volunteers here no one gets paid we have members that have been here a year we have members that have been here forty years, and that’s why we all do it for the community,” said Alley.
Alley said he expects the cement to be poured and the helipad to be ready for use by the end of the week.