To better serve the Folsom community, Bartow County Fire Department’s last volunteer station will be manned full time by paid firefighters by the end of the month. Located at 2124 Highway 140 N.W. in Adairsville, Station 15’s transition date is tentatively set for Aug. 14.
“We are actually going to be putting paid personnel in that station that will man it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, like the rest of our stations,” Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap said. “That Folsom station had been our last strictly volunteer station. The county, we actually sort of did away with our volunteer program a couple of years ago. ... Now, we still have volunteers with the fire department, some of which are still with that station there. These people have not in any shape, form or fashion been asked to leave. They will be able to volunteer with us as long as they would like to. We’re just not taking any new volunteers.
“... Over the years, the numbers have kind of dwindled down where we really only have a few [volunteers] there, and they pretty much put me on notice that they’re not getting any younger and that I needed to start making some plans. They would stick with me as long as they could, but they couldn’t do it forever. ... They’ve been such a blessing to this community for years and years and years providing that service up there.”
Situated in northcentral Bartow County, Station 15 currently is manned by three volunteers: R.L Boswell; his daughter, Karin Cobb; and James Cline. For Boswell, who serves as the station’s volunteer chief, the upcoming plans are a move in the right direction that hopefully will result in quicker incident response times.
“[I have volunteered] ever since they built it,” Boswell said. “We went through training in ’92, and [the station] was built in ’93 or ’94. I’ve been volunteering since ’93. [I] just [wanted] to help the community. Back then, there wasn’t [any] stations around. [The most volunteers we’ve had was] probably about five at one time. That’s been 15 years ago.
“... [Now] there will be somebody there full time if something happens. A lot of times, we ain’t there when the phones go off,” he said, adding the volunteers are planning to assist the fire department during the transition period.
Echoing Boswell’s comments, Millsap is looking forward to utilizing Station 15 to its “full potential.”
“We’ve been doing some minor renovations to that existing station,” Millsap said. “I had purchased additional property for when we expand it once the population ... [grows] in that area, because Bartow County is growing. ... It’s also going to give us a much better capability of utilizing that station. In the past, based on the number of manpower and the volunteer basis of it, we weren’t able to utilize it to its fullest potential as far as responding to calls in a wider area. Sometimes, if the volunteers couldn’t come that meant that station couldn’t do anything. So we had to backfill from other areas, and it took a little while. So this will definitely help us in [cutting] down response times in that area as well as provide a greater service to a bigger area up there.
“... It’s been very well received,” he said, noting the department will fill Station 15’s positions internally with experienced firefighters, who are familiar with the Folsom area. “It’s something that a lot of people in that community have wanted for a long time... The plans have aways been there to do that, it’s just the ability hasn’t been there until now.”
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