The Douglas County Fire and EMT Division officially added a new firetruck to its fleet.

With the help of students and some county officials, a Wet Down Ceremony was held at Chapel Hill Middle School before the truck was pushed into a bay at Fire Station No. 5.

“I’m honored to see all the great things Santa will bring in 2022,” said District 3 Commissioner Tarenia Carthan, who hosted the event.

The truck, which cost $500,000 to purchase and is equipped with $70,000 worth of fire and EMT equipment, was paid for with SPLOST funds.

“It is amazing what a penny can buy for the safety of our citizens,” said David Good, program manager of SPLOST. “We thank the citizens of Douglas County. Our No. 1 responsibility is to protect the citizens. You show you care.”

A Wet Down Ceremony is a long-standing tradition where firefighters commission a new firetruck by spraying it with water, drying it, and then pushing it into its new home, Deputy Fire Chief Eric Phillips explained to the gathering of citizens, county officials and the new recruiting class.

The historical ceremony represents when firefighters had to wet down the horses used to pull fire engines and push the steam fire engines back into the fire station bay, Phillips said.

“This is wonderful, and I’m glad I was a part of it,” District 1 Commissioner Henry Mitchell said.

Carthan offered a prayer for the firefighters, EMT personnel and the new truck before it was pushed into the bay.

Commission Chairman Romona Jackson Jones participated in the push-in.

“This is the district where I live, and I’m happy to see the citizens being taken care of,” Jones said.

Jones got to ride in the new truck as it made it way from Chapel Hill Middle to its new home a few feet away.

“We have some big things happening with the department that will ensure the safety of our citizens,” Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette said. “It is all about the citizens, and how we can better protect them.

County Administrator Sharon Subadan praised the new recruiting class for answering the call to serve community.

“This is a multi-cultural class that reflects our community,” she said. “It was one penny spent to have this important equipment to help the community.”

In June, the BOC approved the fire department’s request for four new paramedic Quick Response Vehicles. The total cost of the new equipment came to $240,000, which included lights, sirens and equipment.