The Branford Fire Department held an election, last week, and Terry Burgess was elected as fire chief, replacing Robert Yates who served as fire chief for the past six years.

Yates was at the Town Council meeting last week. He said, "Yesterday, the fire department held department elections. I retired as Chief. Terry Burgess was elected as fire chief. It's been a pleasure working with you for the past six years. I will still be a representative and will be attending the council meetings."

He went on to say, We still haven't been approved for the 2004 grant. We are also in the final 15 for a free truck from Pasco County. Pasco County is using the fire trucks they are giving away. The county is purchasing them new trucks. I know that one of the trucks we would be receiving we definitely could use.

In the grant application we submitted a request for air packs testing. We submitted $50,000 in the grant for air packs. We have to test January 15 for ladder and pump tests. This helps our ISO rating. When we get everything done, it will help us on the rating. We went from a 9 to 8 and to a 7 rating. We would like to get a rating below a 6, it will be a significant savings to the residents in the Town of Branford if we do. Right now we are equal to the city of Live Oak. It would be a feather in our cap to get a rating lower than the one Live Oak has. We have to test the hydrants also, and the caps have to be painted. We need a pito gauge that shows the flow rate of the hydrant on the last test. The hydrants closest to the well pump had the highest rating.

Branford Mayor Don Owens said, "I've got a map of every hydrant."

Chief Yates said "We also need a light bar for the rescue truck as it's worn out. They don't make them any more and you can't get parts."

Council president Joe Pete Cannon said, "We budgeted for that one and the brush truck". Yates added, "The brush truck lights may last another year, but the next time we turn them on it may not work. They were donated to us but they are about out now. The rescue truck goes out to Lafayette County, and it is used as the second truck and goes to anything that's not a structure fire."

Cannon advised Yates to check and see what the light prices are. He said, "The motor that makes them work is the problem. That's what is not working."

Yates added, "Last night my son Todd Yates was named Branford Fire Department Explorer of the Year. Scott Alred, was named Fireman of the Year and Terry Burgess got the Chief Award."

Yates wife Debbie, is in charge of arranging the Christmas parade. She was complimented by the council for doing a good job. She said, "The parade went fabulously. We had a woman interrupt the parade. The woman pulled out of Nell's Restaurant and refused several times to pull over. She raced down the road, and was stopped and given a citation by a Suwannee County Deputy for interrupting the parade."

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