The Douglas County Fire & EMS Department — using C.A.R.E.S. Act funding approved by the Board of Commissioners — has purchased decontamination tools to help in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette said that his department has purchased decontamination machines for each of the county’s fire stations.
Jolivette said the total cost was a little over $15,000, which came out of the county’s C.A.R.E.S. Act budget.
The decontamination sanitized electrostatic foggers are used to sanitize the equipment and fire stations.
“This safety initiative will keep emergency vehicles in zone, cut fuel costs and allow personnel to receive Insurance Service Office (ISO) company training, which improves our public protection classification,” Jolivette said.
Prior to the purchase of the foggers for each station, Jolivette said firefighters and paramedics would have to go to headquarters in downtown Douglasville to decontaminate their equipment after each use.
He said that would take the truck out of service and imapct the department’s response time for an emergency.
Jolivette said the upfront purchase will save money, time and potential lives in the long run.
“Now, emergency response time can be cut down because firefighters can decontaminate their equipment at their fire station and fuel costs from driving back and fourth can be saved,” he said.
Since taking office in January, Jolivette has been making improvements to the fire department through SPLOST funding.
Last month, the BOC approved over $800,000 for improvements to department for training and equipment.
By a 4-0 vote, the BOC approved the funds during a 30-minute meeting that had no public comments.
Commissioner Ann Jones Guider, who previously served on the public safety committee, was not present at the meeting because of the death of her husband.
In all, the county approved a total of $878,172.29 for training, facility upgrade and equipment.
“It was very important that this got approved,” Jolivette said after the funds were improved. “Getting this will make the community safer. We will move forward to make this department better.”
The big ticket item that received funding was the authorization to accept a bid for $794,000 for the construction of a metal building at the Fire Department Training Complex, which was the big ticket item.
The county will utilize $676,000 from 2002 SPLOST funds and another $125,000 of 2016 SPLOST funds.
Jolivette said the building will be used to store equipment that is now left outdoors.
“Some of that equipment is taking a beating from the weather,” he said. “It will help reduce maintenance costs and in the long run save us money from replacing it. We will get more life out of the equipment.”