How are you reaching out to the community?
Community outreach is our number one goal in the city of Thomasville. Several programs have been designed to develop partnerships with our local hospital and community organizations. We have been fortunate to work with outstanding citizens in our community and are proud to have a group of volunteers who make up our Citizen’s Fire Corp. This group of dedicated volunteers give their time to assist with programs and events such as Senior Safety Day, Safety Fest, “Get Alarmed” smoke alarm program, “Remembering When” program, and Emergency Preparedness Awareness.
Senior Safety Day is an event held to help educate senior adults on fire safety and injury prevention. Reports and statistics from NFPA show that older adults are twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires or falls. Each year 30 percent of individuals age 65 and older are injured due to falls. This is the leading cause of death from unintentional injury among this age group. This special event hosts safety stations, agencies displays, blood pressure checks and free flu shots.
In October we will be hosting Safety Fest 2012. This event will be co-sponsored by Thomasville Funeral Home and the Thomasville Library. There will be displays highlighting fire trucks along with other local agencies from the Davidson County Emergency Services, Thomasville Police Department, North Carolina Forestry Service, and Friends In Need Animal Rescue. This event is held each year to bring agencies together to educate the community and to provide good family fun! Each of these two events will reach out to approximately 500 to 600 people in and around our neighboring communities.
Top 2 Concerns in Your Community?
The top two concerns that face our community today is the loss of the furniture industry and empty manufacturing buildings. Over the past decade our community has experienced the closing of a major furniture industry that employed many citizens for over 100 years. Throughout our history Thomasville Furniture Industries was the major employer for a town of 27,000 people. Due to the furniture manufacturing being outsourced overseas the city is faced with vacant buildings which have been an issue of security and code compliance for our department. Some of the problems we are facing are structures that are being bought and rented out to individuals who are not in compliance with city ordinances and fire code. We are spending a significant amount of time and resources trying to insure these structures are maintained and up to code. It is a continuous ongoing battle.
What Are You Doing for Fundraising?
Since we are a fully paid department with a municipality all of the money we raise is donated to help organizations in need. One program that we are proud to be a part of is the Thomasville Communities in Schools Backpack program. This program started three years ago to help feed more than 80 elementary school age children on the weekends. Through Communities in Schools we learned that many children in the community spend weekends at home without enough to eat. In many cases the backpack program has fed the entire family. Being a partner with this organization is one of the most rewarding programs we have ever been involved in.
Pictured are volunteers for the Thomasville Fire Department Citizen’s Fire Corp.
Another organization within our department is the Thomasville Firefighter’s Random Acts of Kindness. This organization was created and started by our chaplain Captain Rick Waddell. Their mission “is to respond as needed to serve the community. Their organization simply harnesses that willingness to serve others for a greater purpose.” One of their involvements was the Christmas Project where they delivered presents to one local family for Christmas. The group was able to adopt an entire family and presents were purchased for four children. According to Chaplain Waddell the firefighters who participated were able to experience the true meaning of Christmas. Presents were delivered on the fire truck to the family’s house. “The firefighters received as much blessing by providing for the family as the children did receiving the gifts,” said Chaplain Waddell
What Upgrades Will You Make to Your Department this Year?
The department will be receiving a new fire apparatus in the month of October. The apparatus is a 1500 gpm pumper with a 1000 gallon tank. The manufacturer is Four Guys, Inc. based in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. In addition we are looking to upgrade our apparatus fleet and hope to purchase a 105’ ladder truck to replace one of our 75’ aerial trucks.
The department has applied for a grant from FEMA to upgrade its portable radios and equipment. We are applying for waterproof radios, a dual band control station, four bi-directional amplifiers, and a cross connection patch system. All of this will aid the department in enhancing its communication capabilities.
In the future we hope to purchase more mobile data terminals for our fire apparatus. This will provide much needed data for all of our units and will continue to enhance our ability to process information on emergency scenes.
Any Problems You Would Like Feedback from Other Departments in the Carolinas?
One of the issues that our department faces is dealing with all of the social media networking. We are concerned with the posting of photos of emergency scenes on social media sites. We are working on developing a policy that will address this issue. All of the technology and social media outlets can be a great tool if used in the correct way. But, it can also cause many problems for departments and the personnel who work for them. I think this will be a hot topic for discussion for some time.