Mitchell County- In Mitchell County, there's now the sound of seven new sirens for seven new fire trucks. "Today's ceremony was really the culmination of about 1.4 million dollars in expenditures of the seven fire trucks and the associated equipment on the trucks," says county administrator Bennett Adams.
With the use of SPLOST funds, Mitchell County purchased brand new fire engines for cities in the county. It's part of a two and a half million dollar program to upgrade the fire service. Officials say the new truck at the Mitchell county volunteer fire department is a welcome addition.
"We're going to save lives with these new trucks. That's the purpose. The number one goal in any fire protection is life safety," says Chief Jamie Sullivan.
And in addition to saving lives, the new fire trucks will also help to save residents money with rising insurance costs. "With these new engines and the training our firefighters are receiving here in mitch, we are in the process of lowering home owner insurance throughout the county plus providing a valuable life saving service to all our citizens," says Sullivan.
They hope to reduce the county fire rate to a 6, perhaps a 5. This is what insurance companies gauge policy amounts with. Homeowners may soon be saving up to 50 percent in premiums. The trucks were ordered and designed specifically to meet strict requirements in order to meet the needs of the county, everything from the ladders to the foam induction system.
But firefighters are reaping the benefits of the new trucks as well. "I never thought in my lifetime I would get to ride in a brand new truck as a volunteer firefighter," says Sullivan.
And they say Saturday is the biggest day since 1980 when they received their first truck from the Georgia Forestry Commission. "It was certainly the most significant day that weve had in our volunteer fire dept history here," says Adams.