Fire stations in Pittsylvania County to serve as warming shelters in light of upcoming winter storm

Southside Virginia News

PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Officials in Pittsylvania County are gearing up for another winter storm system.

After freezing rain and ice slammed the region over the weekend, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors wanted to make sure every resource is available.

Board members declared a local State of Emergency during a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

“We saw how significant the damage was from this past storm. The downed trees everywhere, blocked roads, and downed power lines,” said Caleb Ayers, Public Relations Manager for Pittsylvania County.

County officials are planning to open up fire stations as warming shelters for those without power, like the Gretna Fire and Rescue facility.

Crews have already seen 10 visitors walk through their doors due to impacts from the last storm.

“Our goal is to allow the citizens somewhere to go in case they need to warm up,” said Zach Perkins, President of Gretna Fire and Rescue.

Most people came for necessary items like water and internet.

The station also offers cots for people to sleep on and bathroom facilities to use if needed, with COVID-19 protocols in place.

“We are doing temperature checks when everyone comes in the door,” Perkins said. “Keeping a log of who is coming in. Keeping everyone socially distanced while they’re here and face masks are required when they’re here in the building.”

Despite visitors, Perkins says preparations still need to be made.

The department is the biggest agency throughout the county, responding to calls within a 150-square-mile radius.

“Just making sure all our equipment is gassed up and ready to go, and all of our chainsaws are in top-notch shape,” said Perkins.

He says the department is always willing to lend a helping hand and be a vital resource, to the community.

“Our doors are open,” Perkins said.

Residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts through Pittsylvania County’s CodeRED System.

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