February was a very busy month for Barrow County Emergency Services personnel.
For the month, communications officers dispatched 5,207 calls within an average of one minute and eight seconds.
Of these calls, 4,465 were requests for law enforcement and 567 were dispatched to fire and emergency services.
The Fire and Emergency Services Division responded to 21 structure fires, four vehicle fires, four woods fires, 13 fire alarms, five gas leaks and 66 motor vehicle collisions.
The Fire Investigation Team determined that two of the structure fires were acts of arson.
“Both fires were determined to be caused by an intentional human act,” said Lt. Blair Darst, chief investigator for the department. “We are working with law enforcement agencies with these and other arson investigations.”
Emergency services personnel also handled over 450 calls for emergency medical services during February with an average response time of eight minutes and eight seconds.
Despite the high call volume, interim chief John Skinner said emergency services personnel continued to provide the quality service that citizens have come to expect.
“From the time they call 911 until their emergency is over, citizens want and expect highly trained and experienced people to assist them,” Skinner said. “In February as in every month, each and every person in our department trained and strived to give them the very best service we possibly can.”
Personnel with the department continued to organize all the equipment, medical and office supplies at the new headquarters on Pleasant Hill Church Road.
Work also continued on the new E911 Center. With the completion of the center getting closer, E911 manager Kathy Wallace has been working with all the vendors involved in scheduling equipment installation.
Scheduling for the move is also underway. The goal is to create the least possible disruption in E911 service as the new facility is brought online.
TRAINING AND PUBLIC SERVICE
In February, the first class offered on the department’s new website was completed. The Fire Instructor 1 class had a one hundred percent pass rate. It was also the first time any department in the state offered the class in an online setting.
“It was one more way that Barrow County Emergency Services has stepped into the future and became a leader in the State,” said Lt. Richard Carignan, lead instructor for the class.
Also in February, firefighters with the department completed 1,194 hours of training over 181 different subjects. This training was done in classrooms, over the Internet and with hands on training. Every member of the department participated in some sort of training during the month.
“This department takes training very seriously as it is the only way we can keep performing our jobs as well as we do,” said deputy chief Bryan Bullock, head of training. “As public safety personnel you have to stay up with all the changes in our field in order to offer the best possible service to our customers.”
As part of their efforts to provide quality service to the community, firefighters with Barrow County Emergency Services spent 88 hours performing public education and public relations throughout Barrow County. More than 50 Adults and 275 children attended fire safety education and information presentations by the department.
“Every firefighter in Barrow County has the responsibility to offer the citizens fire and life safety education,” said public information officer Lt. Scott Dakin. “We all take it very serious and try to get the messages out as much as possible.”