Live Oak —
By James Sommers
Suwannee County Public Safety Director
It has come to the attention of Suwannee County Fire Rescue that there are questions regarding emergency response involving the proposed medical waste incinerators in Suwannee County. I would like to take this opportunity to explain the capabilities of your county fire rescue department.
Suwannee County Fire Rescue is a combined fire rescue service providing fire and advanced life support EMS response out of five career stations. In addition to the five career stations, Suwannee County Fire Rescue has 10 volunteer reserve stations throughout Suwannee County. There are 42 career personnel and 39 volunteer reserve personnel that make up the staff of Suwannee County Fire Rescue. Out of the 39 volunteer reserve staff, 16 are certified to the Firefighter I level. The 42 career personnel are certified to the level of Firefighter II/Paramedic with the exception of five which are FirefighterII/EMT.
In addition to fire and EMS response Suwannee County Fire Rescue is also a member of the North Florida Regional Hazardous Materials team. Out of the 42 career personnel, 19 are certified by the state of Florida as Hazardous Materials Technicians. As a member of the Regional Hazmat team, the North Florida Regional Planning Council supplied a trailer with all the necessary equipment to handle most hazardous materials emergency calls. Our Hazmat team members train with representatives of Gainesville Fire Rescue’s Hazmat team monthly. We also have a mutual aide agreement with Gainesville Fire Rescue to assist when needed for Hazardous material calls.
In the event of an emergency that is fire related at any commercial occupancy, Suwannee County Fire Rescue dispatches the three closest career stations and the three closest volunteer reserve stations. This ensures that sufficient manpower is on scene to handle the emergency. The officer in command of the scene will alter the response as needed to ensure the emergency is taken care of. The main area of concern in emergency response with an incinerator, is fire. I can assure the citizens of Suwannee County that our department is capable of handling an emergency response of this nature, and if the proposed medical waste incinerators are placed in Suwannee County our department will attend any specific training that is necessary to further our response capabilities.
If you have any questions regarding Suwannee County Fire Rescue feel free to call headquarters at 386-364-3404.
Live Oak —
By James Sommers
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