Communications officers with Barrow County Emergency Services handled over 16,000 calls in March.
Of those calls, over 4,800 were 911 calls. On average, emergency responders were dispatched within one minute and 15 seconds from the time the call was received.
“When a citizen calls 911 they can rest assured that highly trained, skilled people are ready to help them here in Barrow,” said Barrow County Emergency Services public information officer Lt. Scott Dakin. “From the communication officer who answers their call, to the firefighter, EMT or law enforcement official who responds to the call, all strive to help them in the best way possible for the citizen.”
In March, Barrow County firefighters responded to numerous fire related calls including 16 single-family structure fires, four commercial building calls and 32 other fire related calls.
The Fire Investigation Unit was called to investigate six of these fires. One was determined to be an arson fire and a suspect was arrested the same day by Auburn Police Department. Juveniles were found to be responsible for another fire and the remaining four are listed as under investigation.
In addition to fighting fires, firefighters were also dispatched to 59 motor vehicle accident calls and 454 medical calls.
The average response time for these calls was seven minutes and 11 seconds. Firefighters were enroute to the calls in an average time of 58 seconds.
As part of continuing efforts to provide quality services to the citizens of Barrow County, firefighters also spent more than 1,830 hours in training in the month of March. Classes included a vehicle fire suppression class conducted by Dakin and a blunt trauma and burn class led by fire medic Michael Barnes. Both classes were held on Haiku, the department’s new internet training site.
“Every month the personnel in this department continue to improve their skills by training on all aspects of their jobs,” said deputy chief Bryan Bullock. “They show the professionalism and dedication needed to stay current and proficient in the ever changing world of public safety.”
Firefighters also taught several fire and life safety classes to more than 450 Barrow County School students.
“These lessons are a top priority for our department,” said Dakin, the department’s public relations and public education coordinator. “The best way we can perform our job is to protect the citizen from fire or being hurt in the first place.”
NEW 911 CENTER
According to Dakin, work is continuing on the new E-911 Center. Meetings between county personnel and vendor representatives will take place in early April. The purpose of the meetings is to ensure the move from the current center to the new one is made with the least amount of disruption as possible.
E-911 manager Kathy Wallace is leading the organization efforts. Wallace, who has also played a large role in the design of the center and the purchasing of the new equipment, is looking forward to the move.
“Once the new 911 Center is up and running we will be able to provide an even better level of service to the citizens of Barrow County [than] they have been receiving already,” said Wallace. “We are all very excited with about this move and are looking forward to its completion.”
One communication officer and three firefighters left the department in March. The department is now in the process of filling those open positions.
“March was a steady month,” said interim chief John Skinner. “We continued our growth as much as possible while staying within our budget allowances. Even with the four personnel leaving Barrow County to pursue their careers with other departments, every 911 call was answered without any additional delays and every ambulance and fire truck continued to respond with the two budgeted firefighters.”