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Rural Fire Committee votes to consolidate fire and emergency management jobs

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In a Monday morning meeting Carroll County’s Rural Fire Committee voted to recommend to the Carroll County Legislative Body that the positions in the Emergency Management Agency and Rural County Fire Department be consolidated.

Janice Newman is the director of the Emergency Management Agency and Terry Bradshaw is the Rural County Fire Department fire chief. Newman was present along with Amanda Sneed, who serves as a fire administrator.

During the meeting, Bradshaw announced his retirement on June 1.

“Thank you for allowing me to serve,” said Bradshaw. “I will be returning to full-time ministry work.”

He pointed out there are some things that need to be done before he leaves.

“There is a tower to complete and a tanker to be bought,” he said.

Committee member Ronnie Murphy made the motion to consolidate the two positions with committee member Johnny Blount providing the second. Other committee members present included chairman Jeremy Fowler, and Jimmy McClure as well as County Mayor Joseph Butler.

Blount suggested  that a meeting be set with the county’s 12 rural fire chiefs concerning the plan that will be taking place.

Bradshaw advised that with the consolidation into the one position there are lots of projects that the person in this new position would be asked to perform.

“There have been a lot of jobs that have been added to the fire chief’s job over the years,” said Bradshaw.

Among them are emergency medical services, radios, First Responders program, arsenal situation, dive team, HAS MAT, Priority Ambulance service, arson investigations, Macedonia and Hico 

Fire Department situation, ISO rating, fire station near the 1,000 acre lake, tanker need for District 1,

 McKenzie radio situation, and divers.

There needs to be a push forward on the radio project because there are towers that need to be built.

“I’ve fought a lot of fights on radios,” he said. “It’s an issue and that someone on the sheriff’s department can do. It’s a lot of responsibility.”

First Responders program is now the responsibility of the fire chief. There are 11 volunteer responders. The Keeton law firm recently advised that they needed to be eliminated because it was too much liability.

He said Priority Ambulance Service was an ongoing issue due to the complaints he receives about the poor service they give on response time. People complain regularly about the length of time for calls.

Newman said it was a great service that is needed.

There is an issue with the Macedonia and Hico Fire Departments that has to be resolved.

The McKenzie Police Department has had a radio problem that they are having to deal with.

Bradshaw had bids for the price of radios that would resolve the issue. One bid was for $83,543.71 and the other one was for $48,909.

He said the county had 257 structure fire calls in 2020.

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