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I am not a resident of Hall County, but I did spend 23 years as a Hall County firefighter until my retirement in 2007. I would like to respond to some of the statements made on the opinion page on Friday.
Mr. Cobb’s questions about the fires, injuries and deaths in Hall County and whether or not the firefighters have made a difference in the people of Hall County’s lives is a matter of public record. Anyone can call either Fire Chief David Kimbrell or Assistant Chief Jerry Smith for this information. I am sure that they would be more than happy to release these numbers.
The fire stations that are on line now and the ones that are planned are mandated by the International Organization Standardization so the county can lower their ISO rating, which lowers insurance costs to homeowners. From my understanding, it is a savings of about $1,100 a year per homeowner for a cost of about $90 in taxes per year to operate the fire and EMS service.
The placement of these stations is to get qualified personnel to all residents of Hall County in a safe and timely manner.
All of the firefighters in Hall County are certified to at least a nationally registered EMT intermediate. Many of the firefighters are paramedics, and they also have EMS equipment on the fire engines.
The reason that people may see several pieces of equipment on small accidents is that the ambulance crew usually needs help with patients at the scene with medical care and loading into the ambulance. Also, fire department personnel don’t know the full extent of the patients’ injuries until they arrive on the scene. The patients may have unknown medical conditions that may lead to stress induced cardiac arrest after an accident. It isn’t just "to log a call."
Some of the main reasons for less house fires is fire prevention education and smoke detectors which are supplied by the fire department to the citizens of Hall County.
In my career with Hall County fire and EMS, I have been proud to serve the citizens of Hall County in a dangerous and sometimes thankless profession. These firefighters are very professional in their chosen careers.
Lt. Dan Sheridan, ret.