Fort Bragg has DOD's busiest fire department, emergency services readies for influx
Members of the Fort Bragg Fire and Emergency Services, shown here at the scene of an accident on post, are preparing for the more than 40,000 Soldiers, Families and civilian workers who will arrive when the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command relocate from Fort McPherson, Ga. in 2011. Fort Bragg currently has the busiest Fire and Emergency Service, based on a recent Department of Defense survey.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - About 40,000 Soldiers, Families and civilians with the U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Reserve Command will relocate from Fort McPherson, Ga. to Fort Bragg in 2011.

Due to the closing of 20 military bases by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, one additional fire station was recently added to the previous six when Fort Bragg acquired Pope Air Force Base, said Steven Blackburn, the fire department chief, and Fayetteville native.

A recent Department of Defense report surveying on-post emergency services worldwide named Fort Bragg Fire and Emergency Services is the busiest department DoD wide.

The call volume will increase somewhat with the arrival of FORSCOM, said Mark Melvin, the deputy fire chief and Fayetteville native.

As the call volume increases, so too will the traffic, but there is something that people can do to assist emergency services in their rescue efforts.

"Increased traffic will be one major issue effecting first responders," said Gerald Auch, the battalion chief. "I ask that you yield to emergency vehicles by moving to the right and stopping until the units pass. Many times when one emergency vehicle passes, another is right behind it."

Slowing down for yellow lights would also help to reduce the number of accidents on Fort Bragg, said Auch.

Stopping for flashing lights and changing yellows are not the only preemptive steps people can take to assist emergency services.

"Many times people will stop in the unauthorized zones at stop lights by our fire stations and block fire trucks in, which creates a delay in responding to emergencies," said Auch.

Despite the many skills that firefighters possess, they still rely on the public to help when an emergency arises.

"All of the firefighters are trained as emergency medical technicians, hazardous materials mediation technicians and offer crash, fire and technical rescue services," said Blackburn.

Receiving this assistance from drivers would significantly help in rescuing those in need and decrease response time on Fort Bragg, said Blackburn.

Page last updated Fri October 1st, 2010 at 14:22