According to a report from The Statesboro Herald, Bulloch County, Georgia, commissioners have authorized the county manager to buy three new fire engines and three 3,000-gallon water shuttle tanker trucks for the Bulloch County (GA) Fire Department (BCFD) at a cost of early $2 million.
The new vehicles will be part of a plan to staff three BCFD stations with shifts of one or two paid firefighters each and assign one fire engine and one shuttle tanker to each station. In the meantime, Bulloch County staff are working with a consultant to identify about 40 additional “alternative water sources,” mostly ponds, to be included in the current list of approximately 60 ponds designated for refilling tankers.
County Manager Tom Couch and BCFD Chief Chris Ivey are hoping these steps lead to the Insurance Services Office upgrading the fire safety rating in most of the rural fire district to a more uniform “5,” which could reduce homeowners’ insurance rates. Currently, much of the county rural area carries the equivalent of a conditional 5/9 split rating. This also includes breathing apparatus, turnout gear, axes, poles, and hoses. The county government also seeks to upgrade some of this equipment with local funding and grants.
The county will keep some of its current fire trucks, but its fleet overall is not in good shape; the three newest fire engines are between eight and 20 years old, according to Couch. Bulloch county also has a larger network of fire stations and substations, where volunteer firefighters are assigned. However, the three stations to receive the new apparatus will be central to the strategy for creating a “combination” department.