Hall County Fire Services is rolling out new rigs and new digs.
Maintaining fire truck fleet
The last of Hall County Fire Services’ nine new rigs went into service in early March. Now, the department has decisions to make about its older firetrucks: Which should stay and which should go?
Eight firetrucks and one ladder truck arrived in late February and effectively replaced half of the department’s fleet.
Fire Chief Chris Armstrong said its fleet maintenance vendor is in the process of evaluating these eight older rigs being replaced, making recommendations to the agency on which they should sell as surplus and which should become part of the reserve fleet.
The chief said some of the factors include the vehicle’s age, how many hours and miles it has logged on the road and its general overall condition.
“Obviously, if we have a 20-year-old truck that has 150,000 miles on it versus one that is 6 or 7 years old, then we probably keep the newer truck,” Armstrong said.
Station 17 plans on hold
The ladder truck is for the new Station No. 17, but work to build that station has not yet begun.
In March 2020, the Hall County Board of Commissioners approved the use of eminent domain to acquire property in the 5700 block of Holiday Road in Buford.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a slowdown on capital projects, Armstrong said.
“I am hopeful that that conversation will come up with our board sometime between now and when our budget cycle begins again,” the chief said. “We’re creating our budget, but the new budget will go into effect in July. I’m hopeful that we’ll have some more conversations on our timeline for (Station) 17 during that process.”
Station 1 opening soon
The department is also in the process of building a new Station 1, which will be at 3126 Gillsville Highway.
The current Station 1 on Athens Highway was built almost 40 years ago and presents difficulties for firefighters trying to exit the station amid heavy traffic.
Hall spokeswoman Katie Crumley previously told The Times that the new station
“includes a vastly improved mechanical/ventilation system that acts to prevent any carcinogens first responders may encounter on calls from migrating or accumulating in other areas of the station.”
Armstrong said the Station 1 project is still under construction and moving along well. Though there have been some delays due to rain, Armstrong said he felt it has not affected the timetable of completion in the fall.
Having purchased 10 acres of property on Gillsville Highway, the county is also planning on moving fire services’ support services division from the Hall County Government Center on Browns Bridge Road to a warehouse on that land.
The support services division is in charge of uniforms, medical supplies, equipment and more.
“They basically just keep us operational and keep us running,” Armstrong said. “They’re currently operating out of the basement at the government center, but we’re going to be moving them out of there into the new warehouse once that’s complete as well.”
Armstrong said they are anticipating the warehouse will be ready around the same time as the adjacent fire station.