Chief Michael Earwood said the new building will house 15 firefighters cross-trained for both standard fire service and plane crashes at the airport off Rockmart Highway west of Dallas. The Paulding County Commission last week unanimously approved a $3.28 million bid from Douglasville-based Prime Contractors Inc. for construction of the 17,631-square-foot building on Airport Parkway within sight of the airport’s runway. Funding will come from special purpose local option sales tax proceeds and E-911 funds from the $1.50 surcharge on telephone bills.
Insurance providers calculate rates for a property in part based on its ISO rating, which goes to a lower number if within a five-mile radius of a fire station, Earwood said. Though fire department response time averages seven minutes countywide, the ISO rating is based on map location, he said.
“The goal is to reduce rates,” the chief said. “If [the new station] was just for the airport, it wouldn’t be right, knowing there were people out there outside the five-mile range.”
Four trucks will be available at the new Fire Station No. 12, including two for fighting residential and commercial fires and two trucks carrying specialized aircraft firefighting apparatus for airplanes and jets, he said.
In addition, the county E-911 center and county emergency operations center will relocate to the new building from their location adjoining the county jail on Industrial Way North in Dallas. The E-911 center will use about half of the new building, said director David Mumford.
The new E-911 center was needed because the facility — in which it has operated since 1991 — only has enough space for eight operators to work at one time, Mumford said. Such a limitation can be a major problem during events like heavy snow storms because it can lead to delays answering calls, he said.
He said his department employs 38 operators and administrators, which will not increase following the move.
Earwood said county officials had been considering an airport-area fire station since construction began on the airport in the middle of the last decade. They considered commercial property for the building but settled on the airport site because the county already owned the land, he said.