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Fire Department

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When a call goes out to the City of Greer Fire Department, residents can take comfort in the fact that a group of highly-trained professionals will quickly respond.

alarmsGFD answered 3,340 alarms in 2011, including 2,517 medical calls, 128 total fires, and 77 hazardous material calls. Following four years of stable call numbers, the department experienced an increase of 765 alarms in 2011.

The fire marshal’s office conducted 1,620 inspections in 2011, identifying 455 violations. The latter figure marks a 72% decline in violations since 2008.

The office also investigated 23 fires, conducted 57 building plan reviews, issued 85 certificates of occupancy and 28 fire permits in 2011.

Education remains a key component of the fire department’s mission. Staff conducted 61 fire and life safety presentations in 2011, reaching 4,941 individuals. They conducted 423 free inspections on child car seats, identifying at least one installation problem on 99% of those seats.

The department plans to include free crib safety programs in 2012.

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Promotions in the department during 2011 included Jody Norris to lieutenant and Vernon Jameson to senior engineer. Also, Paul Brown was promoted to captain and assumed the training officer role. In addition to identifying ways to increase training for the department’s paid and volunteer firefighters, he has worked to increase joint training projects with the Greer Police Department.

Such interdepartmental cooperation was evident in 2011 when the police department dipped into its seized assets fund to purchase four protective vests for city firefighters.  Emergency medical calls make up the majority of calls to the fire department and those first responders often arrive at the scene of an emergency before it has been completely secured. The vests provide security, allowing the emergency personnel to focus on treating injured individuals.

“We go to a lot of medical calls where there has been domestic violence or other crime,” Greer Fire Chief Chris Harvey said.  “The vests should provide an extra measure of protection.”

The department was awarded a $13,545 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and added a $1,500 match grant for equipment needs. The funds were used to replace aging 3-inch and 1¾-inch hoses, as well as installing reflective tape on the back of city fire trucks.

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A $49,000 Spartanburg County Fire Advisory grant allowed the department to upgrade its radios, while Greenville County Councilman Joe Baldwin secured funds from the county for the department to purchase a Roll-N-Rack system to roll and transport heavy hoses.

The department is home to Explorer Post 103, which helps train the next generation of firefighters. Engineer Richie Bradshaw and volunteer firefighter Don Blanchard coordinate the program that allows young people between the ages of 14 and 20 who are interested in pursuing careers as firefighters to learn more about the job, interact with professional firefighters, and compete against hundreds of other Explorer posts in the annual Winterfest Competition in Tennessee.  Twelve young people filled the local Explorer roster during 2011.

Christie Hunnicutt, Chuck McConnell, and Paris accepted a Cardiac Lifesaver Award from Greenville County for one of the “Top 10 Saves of 2010.”  Training and paid off for the trio, who used their skills to save  a heart attack victim.

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Department hopes to restore 1941 Chevy Southern

FireTruckIt may seem a bit out of place among the modern pumper trucks and ladder trucks, but an original 1941 Chevrolet open cab fire truck can claim seniority over the shiny red vehicles.

In fact, if Fire Chief Chris Harvey’s plan comes to fruition, the old workhorse of a truck that was purchased new by the Greer Fire Department more than 70 years ago will soon publicly carry the department’s banner.

The old truck was donated back to the City of Greer in 2011 by Allen Cullum of Texas. A former city resident and developer of Bennett Business Park, Cullum purchased the truck in 1980 and offered it back to the city for use in parades and special events.

Chief Harvey said his department would like to refurbish the truck as a community project utilizing donations of services and money.

“Our plan is to refurbish the truck in time for the department’s 100th Fire Department anniversary in November of 2014,” he said. “Mr. Cullum has kept the truck in reasonably good shape, using it around his neighborhood during Thanksgiving, July 4 and holidays.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the restoration project is invited to call the department at (864) 848-2166.