2014-10-10 / Front Page

Negotiations to add EMTs to new fire station begin

By LARRY HILLIARD
Ledger Staff Writer

The City of Gaffney Fire Committee gave the thumbs-up this week to begin negotiations with local hospital officials to staff the city’s new substation with emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Gaffney Fire Chief Jamie Caggiano told fire committee members Monday he has begun informal talks with local medical transportation provider AmbuStar.

Gaffney Administrator James Taylor suggested Caggiano should talk with Gaffney Medical Center, which contracts with the emergency medical technician provider.

The city would provide space for two EMTs and an ambulance at its new substation on Thompson Street, according to Caggiano.

The fire chief said that between 60 to 65 percent of his calls are in response to medical emergencies.

The substation should be operational by January, Caggiano said.

Demolition at the site of the former Peeler Dairy, where the new substation is being built, is about 70 percent complete.

Once the demolition is finished, crews will install garage doors, complete the electrical work and put a new coat of paint on the building.

A new floor will be laid in the office area and a shower and bathroom will be installed.

The city has appropriated $200,000 in the new fiscal year budget for the project.

City officials, including Caggiano, have said the new fire substation would improve the city’s fire protection rating.

Under the Insurance Services Office’s rating system, fire departments are judged on their ability to respond to fires and emergencies and receive a Public Protection Classification of 1 to 10 with 1 being the best. Some insurance companies use ISO ratings to help determine premiums for residences and businesses.

In addition to its main facility, the Gaffney Fire department operates substations on Overbrook Drive and Cherokee Avenue. The city also plans to build a substation at the site of its training facility on Beltline Road. That construction is about five years away, city officials have said.

Caggiano explained that opening the new substation will not necessitate the hiring of additional firemen. He said he plans to reduce from three to two the number of firemen at each of the city’s fire substations.

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The city has passed first reading of an ordinance that would allow a U-haul truck drop off (up to four trucks in the Farmer’s Market parking lot across from the Gaffney Visitors Center. Do you think this is an appropriate spot for such an enterprise?