Officials OK aid agreement between fire services with Hall County

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Making a long-standing practice official, Gwinnett County commissioners approved recently an automatic aid agreement between fire and emergency services in Gwinnett and Hall County.

The agreement essentially means Gwinnett County firefighters and emergency personnel will be offered to Hall officials in times of increased need, and vice versa.

Fire department spokesman Lt. Eric Eberly said Gwinnett has similar relationships with most of its neighboring counties.

"This formalizes a long-standing verbal agreement to share equipment and resources across county borders," Fire Chief Bill Myers said, "and it will help reduce response times and provide adequate coverage along the county line during times of greatest need."

As an example, Eberly pointed to a series of violent storms that hit Gwinnett County last spring, during which Hall County sent a pair of engines and a battalion chief to staff fire stations while local personnel were responding to a high volume of calls.

"Hall County has some stations closer to Gwinnett properties and Gwinnett County has some stations closer to Hall properties," Myers said.

The agreement also allows firefighters from Hall and Gwinnett to train together, officials said.

In a separate action, the Board of Commissioners has also accepted a $25,000 grant to maintain or replace equipment carried on the fire department's search and rescue truck, which is used during building collapses, confined-space rescues and high-angle rope rescues.

The money was made available from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency through the federal Homeland Security Grant Program, officials said.