Send e-mail to email@example.com (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length (limit of 500 words). Letters originating from other sources or those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
To find a form to send a letter, click here
This response is to answer questions raised in a letter to the editor in Friday’s Times.
"Why do we need all the stations that we have now"?
The standard for fire protection is a fire station within 5 road miles of all "built upon" property. Actually Hall County needs several additional stations above what we currently have to meet that recognized minimum.
These stations are placed to facilitate the greatest good for the least dollar. When units are busy, the closest fire unit responds and an ambulance from a neighboring station responds to provide the highest caliber of emergency service to our citizens.
"When was the last time that the millions of dollars of equipment that we have now was actually used to fight a fire?"
That equipment was used over 34 times during November. The last (structure) fire that was fought by Hall County Fire was a chimney fire the day before the letter. Last Saturday, there were five woods, one car and two illegal fires, plus six vehicle accidents requiring assistance, including using the jaws of life for extrication. A query of records for Nov. 22-29 shows four structure fires to which Hall County responded.
"When was the last time that a life was saved by local fire fighters?"
The term firefighter is interchangeable in Hall County because all employees are cross trained-firefighters and emergency medical technicians. On a daily basis, our personnel save lives medically, but also through fire fighting. The week of the letter, our department responded to a grease fire in which a patient suffered burns. The personnel extinguished the fire and promptly took care of the patient. That same week, firefighters responded to a vehicle fire and pulled the driver from the burning vehicle and saved his life.
The department is complex in its structure but very efficient in its response and capabilities. Fire Services, Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services are all under the "fire department" umbrella and work together very well to provide great service and save thousands of dollars combining those services into one department.
The fire service actually saves money. Hall County has an insurance rating of 4. With this rating, the department saves insurers well over $1,000 in annual insurance premiums per household.
I take great pride in Hall County Fire Services because of the caliber of men and women here. This department is a statewide leader and I take great pride and am very humble to be the chief of a department as great as the one Hall County is fortunate to have. When we err, I will be the first to acknowledge that error and I must defend the actions of the men and women of this department and the county that we serve and protect.
These personnel work tirelessly without "tooting their horn" and that is possibly the reason for the misunderstanding of what happens on a daily basis to protect the citizens of Hall County.
Fire Chief, Director of Emergency Management, Hall County Fire Services, Gainesville