Walker County Fire Victims Remembered at Georgia State Capitol

Atlanta, GA – The annual swearing in ceremony for Fire Marshals and Fire Inspectors at the Georgia State Capitol took on new meaning this year for Walker County Fire Marshal Paul Linder.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office displays shoes on the Capitol steps to represent the lives lost to fire during the previous year.  This time, five of those pairs of shoes were from Walker County, including one pair representing a 12-year old girl.

Fire Marshal Linder wondered how many of those fatalities might have been prevented by working smoke alarms.  The State Fire Marshal’s Office held the shocking answer.  In 2018, there were 83 fatal house fires across Georgia.  Only four of the 83 fatal fires had working smoke alarms.

Walker County Fire Rescue recently doubled its efforts to promote its free smoke alarm program with public service announcements, a billboard and neighborhood installation blitz along Dry Valley Road, where four of the five local fatalities occurred in 2018.  Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017.  In 2018, the number increased to 228.  One month into 2019 and nearly 90 smoke alarms have already been installed.

Linder hopes one day when he attends the swearing in ceremony, there won’t be any shoes on the Capitol steps.  Do your part by calling 706-539-1255 and requesting a free smoke alarm installation or by sharing this information with friends and loved ones.

Also in attendance from Walker County to be sworn in was Jeffrey Roerdink, our new Fire Inspector.  Roerdink recertified through the Georgia Fire Academy this month.

 

 

Walker Fire Rescue & American Red Cross Plan Smoke Alarm Blitz

Rossville, GA – Walker County Fire Rescue and the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia will be going door to door on February 2nd to improve fire safety in the Chattanooga Valley community.  Teams will be canvassing the Dry Valley Road area to install smoke alarms at no charge, conduct a home safety survey and identify potential hazards in the home.

Four people died in two unrelated fire incidents on Dry Valley Road last year.  Fire investigators did not find working smoke alarms in either home.

“Our greatest obstacle with our free smoke alarm program is getting people to sign up,” said Chief Blake Hodge.  “In my 25 year career, I have not worked a residential structure fire that resulted in serious injury or death, when there were operating smoke alarms present.  Smoke alarms save lives!”

Walker County launched a public service campaign last year that resulted in firefighters installing 228 smoke alarms.  Only 21 smoke alarms were installed in 2017.  “With over 68,000 residents, it’s important to diversify our communication efforts and approach, so this information gets to all our citizens,” added Chief Hodge.  “We hope by adding this one-day blitz, we can increase participation.”

Volunteer opportunities are available for community members who would like to be part of this home fire preparedness campaign.  To learn more or to register, contact the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia at 706-728-3424 or email Carla Maton at carla.maton@redcross.org.

Any Walker County resident in need of free smoke alarms should contact Walker County Fire Rescue at 706-539-1255.

Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day Returns May 19!

Chickamauga, GA – The overwhelming success of last fall’s tire amnesty day event prompted county officials to ask the state to green light a sequel. On May 19th, the Retire Your Tires Amnesty Day will return to the Walker County Landfill, 5120 N Marble Top Road, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Car and light truck tires with wheel sizes 20 inches or less will be accepted, as well as ATV (all-terrain vehicle) tires. All tires must be dismounted from any wheels and free of debris. Tires with rims and large truck, tractor or heavy equipment tires will not be accepted.

This event is only for the public, not for commercial businesses. Proof of residency, such as a driver’s license or current utility bill, will be required to dispose of tires for free during the amnesty event. Those participating will also be required to unload their own tires.

Properly disposing of scrap tires helps eliminate mosquito breeding sites. The wet spring has provided mosquitoes with plenty of locations to lay their eggs. A female mosquito only needs an inch of standing water to lay a batch of over 100 eggs. More mosquitoes this summer could hasten the spread of West Nile Virus. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield hopes by removing thousands of old tires from the community we will cut down on the mosquito population.

Last fall, the community cleaned up 5,543 tires. Walker County aims to collect a similar number this spring. Tires will be sent to an approved recycling center and turned into industrial fuel or rubber mulch for landscaping and playground applications.

Walker County, American Red Cross Partner to Provide Free Smoke Alarms to Residents

LaFayette, GA – Walker County Emergency Services (WCES) and the American Red Cross of Northwest Georgia are sounding the alarm to save lives. The two organizations have partnered to provide free smoke alarms to Walker County residents in need of these life saving devices.

WCES received a donation of 150 smoke alarms from the Red Cross to distribute throughout the community. Residents can call 706-539-1255 and press #2 for the Fire Marshal’s office to request one. Smoke alarms will be given out and installed on a first come, first served basis. Once the supply is exhausted, WCES will place residents on a waiting list to receive an alarm as additional inventory becomes available.

Special smoke alarms for hearing impaired residents are also available.

WCES worked 71 residential fires in 2017. In recent weeks, firefighters have responded to a number of incidents where smoke alarms alerted homeowners to a problem, allowing them to escape safely. However, the National Fire Protection Association reports roughly five-million households still do not have even one working smoke alarm.

December, January and February are peak months for residential fires, due to increased use of home heating equipment.

Walker County Landfill Offers Free Recycling Day on December 26th

Chickamauga, GA – A “Free Recycling Day” will be offered on Tuesday, December 26th at the Walker County Landfill, 5120 N Marble Top Road, Chickamauga.

Residents are encouraged to bring recyclable Christmas related trash, such as wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and greeting cards, to the Landfill between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Other reusable material, including cans, paper milk/juice cartons and some plastics, will also be accepted. A list of materials that can be recycled can be found here.

Walker County provides free recycling year-round at the landfill for a limited number of materials. During the “Free Recycling Day,” additional recycling bins and staff will be available. Residents with questions about whether a particular material can be recycled should contact the Landfill at 706-375-8910.

In observance of the holidays, the Landfill will be closed on Saturday, December 23rd; Monday, December 25th; and Monday, January 1st.

WALKER COUNTY’s ANIMAL SHELTER OFFERS FREE ADOPTIONS DURING “PRICELESS PETS” PROMOTION!

Lots of people inside the Animal Shelter

Chickamauga, GA – Pets are priceless. Money can’t buy the memories and experiences they create with their owners. That’s why pets really are priceless at the Walker County Animal Shelter!

During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Walker County Animal Shelter will take an unconventional approach to encourage pet adoptions. On Friday, May 26th and Saturday, May 27th, the shelter will waive its regular adoption fee, offering pet seekers an opportunity to make a match and bring home a new family member for free.

The Shelter recently embarked on a new mission to increase the number of animals saved in Walker County and reduce euthanasia rates. As part of that effort, all dogs and cats of age are now vaccinated and spayed/neutered before leaving the facility. The Shelter has also strengthened connections with rescue groups capable of helping animals find new homes.

Dogs and cats housed at shelters often become stressed by their surroundings, making them more susceptible to illness. The longer an animal stays sheltered, the greater their chances of becoming sick. To reduce that risk, Walker County Animal Shelter staff now encourages pet owners who want to surrender their animals to foster them at home, allowing shelter staff to search for a new forever family.

While it’s still early, animal tracking data shows significant improvement. Through the first four months of 2017, nearly 79% of all animals brought to the Walker County Animal Shelter have been saved. This number includes animals adopted, sent to rescues and returned to their owners.

To maintain this momentum, the shelter needs more volunteers to walk, wash and train dogs. While searching for a match, pet seekers can add their name to an upcoming volunteer information and orientation session to learn how shelter service can be a rewarding experience.

“Priceless Pets” will be offered from 10am to 4pm on Friday, May 26th and 8:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday, May 27th at the Walker County Animal Shelter, 5488 North Marbletop Road, Chickamauga. Those who rent should bring proof of a pet friendly lease to speed up the adoption process.