(Cleveland)- White County Board of Commissioners at their Monday meeting took time to recognize the men and women who serve as paid and volunteer fire department workers. Public Safety Director David Murphy told the commissioners that White County Fire Services currently operates six (6) stations located throughout the county serving the unincorporated areas of our community covering 242 square miles.
The fire services division of public safety responds to all types of fires, provides all types of rescue operations, and provides Emergency Medical first responder’s services to the citizens and visitors of White County. The department responded to 1,968 incidents this past year. This is 16 percent increase over last year and 7 increases over the last 3 years. So far this calendar year, response activity has increased by 22% over 2018.
The department also performed 8 fire inspections, reviewed 187 pre-fire plans, and provided fire prevention education to 4,709 students and the community. The department gave away and installed 80 smoke detectors to our most vulnerable population. The firefighters also maintained 847 fire hydrants, test 648 feet of fire hose, and supply line, maintained buildings/grounds and our fleet of fire apparatus.
According to Murphy Fire Services were established as community volunteer fire departments originally and were combined to form the fire department under a paid county fire chief. The department currently has 12 career firefighters manning two stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays, and 3 full-time admin personnel. The department continues to use and requires the assistance of volunteers throughout our communities. “We currently have 45 volunteers in our department. These volunteers sacrifice time from their families to train and respond to incidents when they are available to do so, ” said Murphy.
Last year, our department trained 3,441 hours to meet the minimum requirements and maintain certification/compliance with GA Firefighter Standards and Training.
Since 2013 I have had the privilege and honor to serve these men and women as the Public Safety Director, however, the true leadership of this group came from the Fire Chief. Norman Alexander has served White County as Assistant Chief and Chief since 2004. He has led these individuals from an all-volunteer to the combination department we have today. Experts in the field will tell you that managing a combination department is challenging. Change is difficult, however, his leadership style and integrity have moved this department forward and into a position that the goals of protecting lives, property and the environment can be accomplished and accomplished with excellence.
Murphy said, “This evening, we have several members of the department both career and volunteer joining us, and I would like to publically thank all of them for their service to White County and the diverse communities we serve daily.”