Sandy Springs’ fire protection won’t be hampered by the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department’s blacking out two stations and browning out six others, Sandy Springs Fire Chief Jack McElfish said.
Blacked-out stations, including one that serves Buckhead, Station 23, will be closed. Browned-out stations, including Buckhead’s Station 26, are subject to temporary shutdowns lasting up to 24 hours. Atlanta is scaling back fire coverage in response to its budget crisis.
Sandy Springs has an automatic-aid agreement with Atlanta’s Station 27 on Northside Drive. While Station 27 has avoided any direct cuts, its firefighters are subject to a 10 percent furlough that will thin staffing across the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, and it will have some responsibility to cover for Stations 23 and 26.
Under the automatic-aid agreement, 911 can dispatch Station 27 firefighters to a Sandy Springs fire if they are closer than any Sandy Springs station. Likewise, Sandy Springs firefighters can be sent into Atlanta if they are closer than any available Atlanta fire companies.
In major emergencies, Sandy Springs can get help from Atlanta and other nearby fire departments through a mutual-aid call, McElfish said. Sandy Springs’ trucks also could be sent into Atlanta under the mutual-aid agreement.
For the duration of an emergency call, other “stations would backfill them, just like they do when we have an incident,” McElfish said.
Station 27 is important enough to Sandy Springs that some residents of the southwestern portion of the city have contributed to a $250,000 Mount Paran-Northside Civic Association fundraising drive to renovate the station. The campaign began in September had raised $172,000 by Dec. 10. Renovations began on Dec. 4.
Among the problems making the station unlivable for firefighters are exposed electrical wires over the shower in a bathroom, a leaky roof and rotted wood throughout the building.
Sandy Springs Dist. 6 Councilwoman Karen Meinzen McEnerny and McElfish attended the Dec. 4 groundbreaking ceremony for the project.
There is still time to contribute to help reach the $250,000 goal for Station 27. For more information on the project, contact London Andes at 404-846-0016 or Marci Vincent at 404-869-6742.
— Gerhard Schneibel and John Schaffner