McDuffie County Fire Services will look a little different now that the changes Chief Bruce Tanner and the station chiefs agreed on have been approved by county commissioners.
During a January meeting with the commission's Public Safety Committee, Chief Tanner announced his plans to rework the fire department's organizational structure. He then met with the station chiefs and key volunteers to formulate a plan.
Now that the changes to the department's bylaws have been approved, Chief Tanner thinks it will be easier to comply with the post 9/11 mandates handed down by state and federal officials.
"I'm relieved," Chief Tanner said. "I think it's going to improve the services that this department is capable of delivering to our citizens."
The main structural change to the bylaws will end the election of officers and set up a new chain of command. Now each station will have a captain appointed by Chief Tanner and confirmed by the commission.
Instead of having each station elect its own officers, Chief Tanner said the new system will standardize the command positions from station to station. It will also eliminate ambiguity that makes complying with National Incident Management Systems difficult.
"It gives us a clear cut order of command," Chief Tanner said. "That's the main thing that we did."
The head officers at each station are: James Mullis - Station One, Lawrence Bruce - Station 3, Ron May and Don Reeves - Station Five, Steve Parrish - Station Six. Captains for Stations Two and Four have yet to be determined.
This won't be the end of the changes to the department's structure, either. As new issues come to the surface, department leaders and volunteers will meet to discuss how they should be handled.
"We're just trying to take it one step at a time and give it a lot of input from different people, including the volunteers," Chief Tanner said. "...Pretty much from here on out it's just going to be the smaller issues."