Christmas came early in Putnam County last Friday as the Putnam County Fire Department held a dedication ceremony for two new Saber Chasis Rescue Pumper trucks purchased courtesy of tax dollars by county citizens and visitors through the county SPLOST program (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax).
The sleek, multi-functional hazard mitigation trucks were purchased in the first phase of the fire department’s 10-year apparatus replacement program which essentially was a first order of business last March when Fire Chief Thomas McClain arrived following recruitment by Putnam County manager Paul Van Haute from Henry County.
“We are very excited to see those here [today],” said Van Haute, now in his eighth year with the county. “This is really going to help benefit the community for the next 20 years. This is one step to provide a better ISO [insurance] rating and one step to providing better service. I’m so happy with it.
“The Fire Chief and I put together a 10-year plan when he started and these pieces have accelerated that plan.”
The rescue pumpers were ordered last year and built by Pierce with a price tag of nearly $1 million.
The new members of the fire department fleet can carry 1,000 gallons of water and 30 gallons of foam that can be mixed and dispersed through a foam injection system that can supply foam out of four different dischargers on each truck, carry four firefighters and a full complement of firefighter equipment, rescue and medical equipment.
“We’re excited to put these trucks in service to increase our service delivery to the citizens and visitors to Putnam County,” said a proud Chief McClain. “All hazard mitigation is what we do. I can’t say enough about how supportive our commissioners and Chairman as well as the county manager have been to improve our fleet and our service delivery. I’ve gotten nothing but support from them.”
With all the shiny new equipment in the world, McClain suggested none of that can ever be utilized without the men and women of the Putnam County Fire Department who put third lives and those of others on the line every time the bell is rung.
“These courageous people do a great job,” McClain said. “It comes through preparation. We see them out on calls but their days are spent getting ready for when those calls come in. I’m extremely proud of the hard work they do.
“These new trucks mean a safe way for the crews to get there with newer technology. Some of our trucks are 10-15 years old and you know how much technology has improved in those times.”
All thanks to the taxpayers of Putnam County.