OPINION: Finding excitement in progress

Published 2:52 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor

As a reporter, it can sometimes be a long time from when I write about something that is going to happen to when that thing actually happens.

The first plan to fully staff a Clanton Fire Station 24/7 was presented in October 2021. During that first presentation, Fire Chief David Driver outlined hiring nine full-time firefighters with an estimated cost $573,048 per year. When the 2023 fiscal year budget was being drafted in September 2022, Driver worked with City Clerk Jonathan Seale to include funding for six full-time positions in the budget. Driver’s excitement was evident as he made the announcement during a Sept. 26, 2022 meeting.

It is a good feeling to be able to write about something through the full process from idea to reality. I recently interviewed two of the firefighters that have been hired, and they are excited, too. They are excited to be working close to home and to have the opportunity to serve their communities. While staffing the downtown station 24/7 is a major step for the department, the end goal for the city is to have all three stations fully staffed.

Jemison is the only other municipality that has a full-time fire station. A choice that was made when the department purchased its own ambulance. CFD also has full-time paramedics.

It is great to know that with fully staffed stations response times are faster, and those in emergency situations will be reached sooner.

While progress is being made to establish fully staffed fire stations, volunteer firefighters remain crucial to emergency response in Chilton County. Many of these volunteers have full-time jobs with fire departments in other counties, but donate time to serve their local community on what would have been their off days.

Whether volunteer or paid, all of the county’s firefighters complete training that certifies them to serve in this capacity. May we as a community always be grateful to them for being willing to serve.