Thomas Fire Chief discusses changes - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Fire Chief discusses changes

September 12, 2007

Thomasville--  The Thomas County fire department is growing.   At the beginning of the year, the county made the decision to take over fire protection for the county's fire districts one and two.   The switch-over will take place January 1st 2008.  Wednesday the Thomas County Fire Chief, Chris Jones talked about how he's been working to make sure that change will be seamless.  

He met with Thomasville's Business Action Council to give them a progress report on the department's activity.  "We have all of our staff in place, we have 3 stations up and operational. We've been answering the fire calls, along with the city of Thomasville," said Jones. Right now, the city's department is the first responder. The county responds too, but as non-emergency with no lights or sirens.

With less than 4 months until the switch in service, they're almost where they need to be.  "That's our goal, seamless change over.  And January 1 there shouldn't be any problems whatsoever," said Jones. "They won't even see a difference in the trucks at all. Because it's the same trucks, the trucks are owned by the county now. They'll stay right where they are except they'll be driven by county employees and reservists," added Harold "Skip" Starling, Director National Fire Services Office.

Since planning to take over fire service, the county has gone from 12 to 24 career firefighters, and even completed construction of the northside fire station.  "It has 2 fire department staff, a service truck and engine and also there's an ambulance there with paramedic and EMT 24 hours a day," said Jones.

Earlier this month the county signed an automatic aid agreement with Grady County's Pine Park volunteer department.   Jones explained, "Those 2 departments have a very good working relationship and have had for a long time. And it was good place to start with our automatic aids."

Even after the take over, the county plans to continue their working relationship with the city's department.  "Our goal is to serve the public and should we need help we'll call them and vice versa," Jones said.

Another goal of the county is to maintain the quality of service, without changing insurance ratings.   Chief Jones also applied for a federal grant that would match the county's money for three more firefighters.

 


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