Lee Co. explores expanded fire services, more stations - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee Co. explores expanded fire services, more stations

LEE CO., GA (WALB) -

Two new fire sub-stations could soon be built in an under-served part of Lee County.

It's part of an overall plan to expand fire services and improve the county's ISO rating which could bring down some people's home insurance premiums.

Lee County Commissioners are working on a new project to expand fire services in the County. Some of the areas they would like to see improved include spots along highway 32 west, New York Road, and Leslie Highway.

Commissioner Rick Muggridge says they want to build fire substations. Those are unmanned stations that house equipment for volunteers and paid personnel. He says this would improve response time.

"Instead of showing up with a single truck or two trucks with a two department response we could be with two or three," said Muggridge.

He also says there's just a small percentage of the county that needs drastic improvement in fire protection.

"With some relatively minor investments, we can give coverage to everybody," notes Muggridge. "Everybody is paying taxes so we want to cover everyone fairly."

He says they've already taken some steps to increase manpower, including combining the fire and EMS departments, and cross training workers who are interested.

"We knew that we needed to increase the manpower responding to fire incidents, we have taken the steps necessary to do that by cross training members of our emergency medical services that were willing to cross train," said Muggridge.

Right now commissioners are working with a consultant.  The two recommended sub stations would cost between $100,000 to $300,000 each.

"We are looking, plans are being developed, water sources are being located and those kinds of things so that we can broaden our footprint," said Muggridge. "I think that we can with a couple of scenarios provide greater services without too big an impact on the budget."

Muggridge hopes to save on the project by investing in used equipment and fire trucks.

Lee County has seven fire stations. Five of them are manned full time.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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