LaFayette, GA – Walker County Fire Chief Blake Hodge received local and state recognition during last night’s Commissioner meeting.
Hodge successfully completed the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy’s four year Executive Fire Officer Program. The EFOP focuses on leadership development, lifelong learning, being proactive instead of reactive and utilizing research and analytics to reduce risk, among other skills.
Chief Hodge is one of only 72 Executive Fire Officers in the state of Georgia.
Along with a local proclamation to recognize this accomplishment, Chief Hodge received a proclamation from Georgia’s Insurance & Safety Fire Commissioner for the county’s campaign to install smoke alarms in every home in Walker County at no expense to citizens. 305 smoke alarms have been installed so far in 2019.
While most people associate Walker County Fire Rescue with fighting fires and emergency response, the department also actively works to prevent fires. Regina Dorsey, Life & Fire Safety Educator said, “Because we want to save lives. That’s just the bottom line. We want to save property, but we want to save lives.”
Along with visits to schools and community events, building inspections and safety training for local businesses, this County department also offers a free smoke alarm program. “We’re going to go out to your home. We’re going to do a home safety survey and we’re going to make sure you don’t have any hazards in your house and we’ll put up the smoke alarms that they need. It’s just that easy,” said Dorsey.
Smoke alarms are given out and installed for free. There are no income restrictions. You just have to make the call to receive a potentially life saving device. Dorsey said, “If you need them, we will come install ours. If you have them, can afford to buy them and you have them, we’ll come install them for you. If you don’t need to climb on a ladder because you’re elderly, we’ll do that for you.”
In 2018, Walker County Fire Rescue worked 89 building fires. Tragically, two of those incidents resulted in fatalities and fire investigators did not find working smoke alarms in those homes. Dorsey added, “The ones we have are good for 10 years, they have a sealed battery. You don’t have to change the battery. All you have to do is push the button once a month and test them and make sure they are working. If your smoke alarms aren’t working, you may as well not have them.”
Walker County firefighters installed 228 smoke alarms in 2018. If you need one, make the call, make the call — dial 706-539-1255. The life you save may be your own.