As I reflect over the last few years, I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve with such dedicated team members. I think back to February, 2016 when I taught our first course, Introduction to Fire and Emergency Services, in a local hotel conference room. The attendees were a mixture of development owners/employees and residents who had no fire experience and decided to participate to support our community. At that point, we had one loaner fire engine with miscellaneous equipment and some used gear.
Since that time our department has grown by leaps and bounds. Station #1, a beautiful building, was completed in 2017 and allows us to meet, train, and store our apparatus and equipment. We added our own twin Engines 1 & 2, Brush 1, Rescue 1, and ATV. FEMA awarded us an Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) which was utilized to purchase new structural and wildland gear. The department is also continually adding dedicated personnel which are trained in fire and medical responses as well as vehicle extrication. We achieved an ISO rating of 4/4x, which is currently the lowest in Marion County. In collaboration with Puckett EMS, we established the only medical first response unit in the county.
As we grow our abilities and training, our team is working to build key relationships throughout Marion County. In June, 2019, an automatic aid agreement with Jasper Fire Department was signed, which automatically dispatches both departments to a structure fire in either jurisdiction. We are continuing to work on mutual aid agreements to better serve our community and county.
Our goal is to have a fire and medically safe community. This includes education, preplanning, training, and collaboration with the community and developers. Our auxiliary has taken a key role in the education and collaboration. Their fire extinguisher sales, vial of life, and emergency contacts program is essential to achievement of this goal.
As a volunteer department we are here to serve. If you have interest is participating, either in active response or a support role, we would encourage you to participate. If you can only support by donations, we will assure those funds are utilized to best serve you.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with the community. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me or any of our members.
Lowell Hardin, RN, MSN, NRP