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The annual Cairo Fire Department Christmas Banquet was held on Monday, Dec. 16, at the firehouse. The colors were presented to open the banquet by the newly formed Cairo Fire Department Honor Guard, which includes Eng. David Morton, Eng. Brad Cosby, FF Terrence Blake, and FF Brett Hotchkiss.
In addition to a message brought by fire department Chaplain Johnny Moore, Captain Cole Prince provided a brief update on the training program for this past year including documented training for the year. Chief Bill Schafer gave an update on the Cairo Fire Department’s accomplishments through the year that included: prefire planning 441 businesses in the city limits, performing preventative maintenance on 629 hydrants twice as required for ISO, providing fire safety education to 1,010 adults and 2,936 children, installing 24 smoke detectors and 28 child safety seats, and making 460 emergency response calls.
Awards were also given this year. Chaplain Johnny Moore was recognized for his tireless dedication to the department. Both the volunteer and career firefighter of the year were recognized. Volunteer of the Year was awarded to James Cason who logged 151 hours of training, responded to over 50 percent of the structure fire calls and numerous other calls for service. “He showed extreme dedication in covering shifts when firefighters had to attend EMT classes in Camilla. James Also logged 223 hours of ride time, training hours,” states Chief Schafer.
Career Firefighter of the Year went to FF Brett Hotchkiss who logged 690 hours of training. “He has an excellent attention to detail on all assignments. He displays an eagerness for additional responsibilities. He also served two years in the USMC. He is a certified car seat technician, tank car specialist, and highway emergency response specialist. Brett is also in his final stages of completing his GSAR (Georgia Search And Rescue Team) training and, once completed, he will be placed with a response team in our area,” Chief Schafer says.
The goals for 2020 were mentioned as continuing to strive for perfection in the area of fire prevention, suppression, education and delivery of service. Chief Schafer says he wants the department to implement a more assertive fire prevention program including smoke detectors in every home, and to ensure that all students are presented with fire safety education. “We want to provide and encourage all members of the department to actively continue to enhance their education through classes and the pursuit of a fire science degree. We will also continue to aggressively pursue grants to lessen the financial burden on our citizens,” he says.
The banquet included a meal catered by Miss Gunzella Crawford. Special thanks to B shift (Lt. Rusty Powe, Eng. Dusty Sheffield, Eng. Brad Cosby, FF. Cody Posey, FF. Brett Hotchkiss) as well as Fire Marshal/Lt. Stephen McKinnon for setup and decoration of the truck bay.