Department reminds citizens to display house numbers, maintain fire alarm equipment
Roger Bailey with the Southside Fire Department provided WBCU News with the department’s annual report of activities and financial status. He noted that in 2007, the department responded to 37 fire calls. 14 years later, in 2021, they responded to 193 calls. The main difference is the automatic aid agreement that is in place among fire departments in the county thanks to the Union County Fire Association, where three departments automatically respond to structure fires.
The department responded to 55 fire alarms, 40 structure fires, 38 grass fires, 22 wrecks, 15 special assignments, 12 car fires, 5 landing zones, 2 commercial fires, 2 smoke complaints, 1 aircraft landing, and 1 gas odor report.
Bailey stated the department received $79,000 from county taxes. $40,000 of that went to truck payments for the year, with the remaining $39,000 being used to operate the department. This past year, the department needed a service truck, which is used to carry additional equipment and supplies needed at fire scenes. The department has ordered a service truck and expects it to be available in September of this year. Bailey said the department believes in having good equipment to respond to all emergencies, and he gave credit to the board of directors, led by Tommy Bishop, for enabling the department to be in the positive position they are in today.
The department has 27 firefighters on its roster, but as with every department in the county, they can use more volunteers. For questions, comments, or donations, get in touch with Chief Mike Lancaster at 426-1050 or Public Information Officer Roger Bailey at 427-1092.
Bailey ended the report by saying, “We consider it a privilege to serve our citizens. Two things you as citizens can help us with is to display correct and current four-inch digit house numbers on your property. Please make it clearly visible either on your house or at the entry to your driveway. This allows us to find your property at 3:00 in the morning on a dark, rainy night. You can also help us lower the number of false fire alarms by keeping your equipment maintained and serviced regularly.”