Chatham Emergency Services Update

By Carey Ruppert -
Chief, Southside Division

Here Come the Lights and Sirens

As Chief of the Skidaway Division of Chatham Fire Department, I am not surprised when residents comment to me about our response to emergency calls on the island. What does surprise me is some of these comments are critical of the number of emergency vehicles responding. Specifically, these residents are concerned (or embarrassed) that so many fire engines have responded when they called in an emergency.

We take every call made to our Dispatch Center very seriously. If we receive a call from a resident or from an alarm monitoring company regarding a possible emergency event or alarm activation, we respond immediately with the equipment and personnel required to meet that emergency. Every call we receive could mean that there is an active fire or emergency which may require immediate action upon our arrival on scene – with adequate personnel and equipment to ensure our response is both safe and effective.

Our dispatch protocols are in accordance with national firefighting standards and are designed to ensure that the proper number and type of firefighters and firefighting apparatuses respond to each call. This means that for most emergency calls on Skidaway Island, including interior or exterior gas leaks, residential fire alarms, smoke alarms, or carbon monoxide alarms, both engines stationed on the island, as well as the ladder truck and an additional engine from off the island, will be dispatched. You also can expect the arrival of my command vehicle, as well as a number of volunteer firefighters. If the emergency call indicates a vehicle or structure fire, additional command vehicles, ambulances, and auxiliary vehicles will be dispatched. Firefighters always will don their protective equipment and SCBAs (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatuses) prior to entering any structure.

I understand why this level of response can feel overwhelming to a resident, especially when a simple phone call results in so many vehicles and flashing lights outside their home in the middle of the night. At the same time, that resident should feel safer knowing that his or her concerned call is met with a serious response. No one should ever be embarrassed or annoyed by the arrival of too many fire trucks, especially if that arrival could ensure the protection of loved ones and the preservation of property.

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

Visit to read the original article.