COVINGTON -- Newton County Fire Service saw an 18 percent increase in calls from 2010 to 2011, according to Fire Chief Mike Satterfield.
Total calls responded to in 2011 were 5,691 compared to 4,814 in 2010, an increase of 877 calls.
Fire Station No. 7 on Brown Bridge Road is the county's busiest station, with 1,472 calls. Of those, 64 percent were emergency medical related and 15 percent were woods and grass fires, totaling a whopping 79 percent of all calls.
Satterfield said these types of calls could more efficiently be answered by a quick response vehicle, and he successfully petitioned the Board of Commissioners on Feb. 7 for purchase of a 2012 Ford F550 crew cab rescue truck at a cost of $97,605. The purchase will be paid for through the fire fund and will be offset by the money that will be saved by not using the large pumper truck, according to Satterfield. The vehicle will be stationed at the Brown Bridge Road station.
In addition to extending the life of the more costly pumper truck, using the quick response vehicle should save money, as it is less costly to repair and uses cheaper fuel, he said. The vehicle will also be easier to maneuver in residential areas, where the majority of emergency medical calls are generated, he added.
"We think in the long run we are going to save money by this purchase. By the time we have the life of this truck spent, we will have saved more money than we're going to spend on this purchase," he said.