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County sets Fire Station One staffing

McDuffie County commissioners agreed last week to staff Fire Station One for 12 hours a day starting in July.

The staffing plan - one of three presented by County Fire Chief Bruce Tanner - will cost the county around $26,000, depending on when the personnel can start.

The current timetable would have the 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily staffing starting in early July.

Officials said the personnel move should help improve response times, which have been more than 15 minutes in some cases.

"I don't like to spend (the money), but there's a definite need here and somehow we've got to come up with it," said Commissioner Darrell Wester.

Chief Tanner said a staffed station could cut some responses in half.

"My biggest hope is that it will make a significant impact on the 15 minutes or more response times," he said.

He said there were 95 calls with more than 15 minutes of response time, and the station - if it remained volunteer-staffed - would top 120 this year.

The battle to staff McDuffie County Fire Station One flared last August during budget hearings, and in recent months discussions had surfaced again. Fire Chief Bruce Tanner recently presented a proposal to fully staff the station that - along with Station Two at the airport - covers about two-thirds of the county's call volume.

Prominent volunteer firefighter Paul Watson approached county commissioners on several occasions to emphasize the importance of staffing and building a new Station One.

His prodding saw the start of a Public Safety Committee

Mr. Watson donated 6.1 acres on the corner of Salem Road and Harrison Road two years ago for a new Station One to be built because the Georgia Department of Transportation will take over Station One's current location on Harrison Road for a future bypass within a year.



Web posted on Thursday, June 9, 2005











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