Dawson County will officially cut the ribbon on the new Fire Station 8 at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 4.
The fire station, which is located off of Sweetwater Juno Road, will bring better fire and EMS coverage to an area that was previously harder for the fire department to reach, according to Dawson County Fire Chief and EMA Director Danny Thompson.
“That area of Dawson County has been underserved for some time — right now you’ve got the station that’s staffed here in town, and then the next staffed station is outside of the north gate at Big Canoe; there’s nothing staffed in between it, and that’s a lot of road miles,” Thompson said. “Now, this staffed station is going to help us to where it’s going to give us extra firefighters in that area, a much quicker response, and hopefully the citizens in that area will be able to see some decreases in their insurance based on their insurance companies.”
The quicker response time from the new station can make all the difference for residents in need of fire or EMS assistance, according to Thompson.
“We can get first responders there much quicker in a sudden cardiac event, a stroke, even a car wreck,” Thompson said. “Every minute counts and we want to do everything we can to decrease those minutes that go with no EMS or medical care being given.”
The new fire station will offer not only more thorough coverage of the county, but it will also provide many safety upgrades for the firefighters themselves, including ways of reducing their exposure to chemicals and other agents known to cause cancer.
“It has some new exhaust systems that hook to the tail pipes of the apparatus so instead of cancer-causing agents being in the bay they’re sucked into this system and disposed of outside of the building, so that way we reduce our people’s exposure to cancer,” Thompson said. “The room where their gear is stored is a negative pressure room, so any cancer-causing agents that are on the turnout gear that they wear into a fire are also exhausted from the building, and to clean up their gear, we added what’s called a ‘gear extractor,’ or a kind of washing machine for turnout gear to clean the gear and get the cancer-causing agents out of it.”
Thompson said that the new fire station, like so many other fire and EMS projects, is funded by Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax dollars, so in the end it’s the citizens’ support of SPLOST that has paid for the project’s completion.
“The station and all the trucks that will be in that station are all SPLOST projects,” Thompson said. “So I think it’s critical that the citizens know that they’re a reason why that station and that fire truck and everything will be there is because of their approval of SPLOST; they made that choice, and it’s a good choice.”
The ribbon cutting ceremony will be open to the public, and attendees will be invited to tour the new fire station and to see the finished project and all that it offers.