Suwannee Democrat

Features

October 2, 2012

Fire safety on foreign soil

Charlie Conner now calls Afghanistan home

Afghanistan — Providing fire safety education and training thousands of miles away and in a completely different climate, former Suwannee County Public Safety Director Charlie Conner says hello.

Conner was deployed to Afghanistan in the spring to serve as a civilian contractor providing fire safety inspections and education to both military and civilians. He is currently signed on for a year, but hopes to serve a minimum of three years. Conner said he works 12-hour days, seven days a week.

“Fire safety is a real concern here. I'm sure you can understand that there is not much water here and most smaller camps don’t have dedicated fire companies, so prevention is top priority,” Conner wrote in an email interview. “We have suffered several fire deaths in the country. The amount of effort that we put into fire safety is amazing.”

He sent an email to the Suwannee Democrat to share his experience with the residents of Suwannee County. 
Conner left as head of Suwannee County Fire/Rescue on May 18. He worked for SCFR since 2006. He has been in the fire/rescue service for more than 26 years.

“For the most part life here is a routine, most people call it ‘Ground Hog Day’, like the movie, because everyday is the same routine. When I first arrived I kind of thought ‘what the heck am I doing here’, because words really can’t describe the situation,” said Conner. “There is so much activity that is going on all at the same time.”

Conner said he is living in a structure with six other people. The housing took him a while to get used to, since he said the closets, bathrooms and showers are 1,500 feet away from where he sleeps. The weather there is different from Florida as well. He said it is either really hot or really cold. The locations he is stationed at also provide three meals per day, which he said “the food is awesome”.

Conner said he travels from location to location and some of the areas there is more military activity or “hot spots” than others.

“Depending on your location in the country and where the hot spots are located, determines how much action you see,” said Conner. “As of this writing, I'm at a small Forward Operating Base located in the Helmand River Valley which is an active location. The camp is home to the Special Forces. The Helmand Province is known as one of the hot spots at this time. I take great pride in what I do here, serving our military and helping to keep them safe. I also enjoy spending time talking with our troops.”

Before Conner left, he had to take additional training to prepare for life overseas, such as survival education and of course, what to expect when he arrived.

Although his work schedule is demanding, Conner said he finds time to read. He said he started reading “The New Testament” and “Huckleberry Finn”. 
“There is no comparison between here and home. We as a nation are so blessed by God the Father,” Conner wrote. “I have always asked for the citizens of Suwannee County to pray for myself and our fire/rescue service. I still ask that, but also, please pray for our men and women in the armed forces and a quick resolution to this war.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.43.57 AM.png VIDEO: Amazing dance moves at NCAA title game

    Eye-catching action wasn't confined to the court at AT&T Stadium Monday night during the NCAA Championship game between UConn and Kentucky. This pair -- apparently a father and son -- delighted the crowd during a timeout with some synchronized dance moves.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2014-04-04 at 3.36.06 PM.png 3 apps to make your flight easier

    Whether you fly once a week for work or once a year for a vacation, you can bet that all areas of your trip are being monitored by smart phones. While it isn't hard to find an app with your flight info, some apps make the process of flying a lot simpler.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comic books and race in America go hand in hand

    Comic books haven't always been a place where African-Americans can find characters they relate to. Black comic characters ranged from being barely noticeable and featuring blatantly disrespectful instances, to receiving lessened moments of racism from decade to decade.

    April 3, 2014

  • watching-tv.jpg Cutting the cord on cable TV, and not missing it a bit

    Three years ago, Royse City Herald Banner reporter Chris McGathey and his family decided to ditch pay TV in favor of Netflix, Hulu Plus and other cheaper web-based services. It's a decision they haven't regretted.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • tax collectors first place.jpg Arc Lawnmower Race a hit

    Rain didn’t dampen spirits of those that attended Saturday 

    April 2, 2014 4 Photos

Business Marquee
AP Video
SKorea Ferry Toll Hits 156, Search Gets Tougher Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Alibaba IPO Could Be Largest Ever for Tech Firm FBI Joining Probe of Suburban NY 'Swatting' Call U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Suwannee Democrat on Facebook
Poll

Do you think the city of Live Oak should have a city-manager form of government or leave it as a city-administrator form of government?

Change to a city-manager.
Keep it as city-administrator.
Don’t care either way.
What are you talking about?
     View Results
Facebook