Rabun County Fire Personnel - Thank You
This month we seek to show our appreciation for our local firemen, volunteer and paid. Day after day they stand ready to respond to fires, and aid their comrades at EMS, Rabun Rescue, and our Law Enforcement. While everyone mentioned in that previous sentence deserve recognition and praise, this issue will focus on Rabun County Fire Services. For this article I spoke with the Clayton Fire Department’s Assistant Chief, Justin Upchurch, one of only ten paid personnel at the city’s fire department. It was an interesting interview and I learned many things I didn’t know. There are twelve stations in Rabun County, two of which are not controlled by the county. These two stations operated under their own policies and procedures and have their own Chief. The other ten stations are controlled by Rabun County and staffed mostly by volunteers. The Fire Chief of Rabun County is James Reed. What I didn’t know was that to be a volunteer fireman you must complete training that is the very similar to that of paid staff. Paid firefighters are required to earn their state firefighter certification by completing the 340-hour Basic Firefighter Training Program. This is an option for volunteers but is not required. Volunteers are required to be physically fit and strong. The job is physically demanding. You can rest assured that your volunteer fire department is staffed with men and women who are well trained and fully capable to respond to the calls. “Rabun County takes very good care of their fire departments. All of our departments have what they need to fight a fire. As trucks age out, they are replaced and Rabun County has a total of 60 apparatuses over twelve departments. Seventy percent of our firefighters have completed an Emergency Medical Responder course. Many of them are full time EMT/Paramedics who volunteer at our station.” Justin explained. The Clayton Fire Department is the only one under county control that is staffed 24/7. The office is open Monday-Friday. The firehouse is staffed by 2 firefighters around the clock. Staff works a 24hr on and 72hr off schedule so that there is always someone ready to come to your aid. Each department is equipped with 1 Fire Engine, 1 Tanker, all but one has a Rescue Truck and a Brush Fire apparatus. Our county has two fire boats to protect homes on the lake and to pump water out of the lake to the Tanker trucks to fight fires. When a call comes in no matter where in the county it is one of our paid firefighters come. The first to respond to you will likely be one of our many volunteers who may be able to get to your emergency faster than those coming from Clayton. Many times if the issue is easily resolved the full-time firefighter will be called to turn around if they are not needed. “When Covid-19 emerged, things changed a bit to protect volunteers and the public. Paid staff responded with aid from EMS, either from Clayton or Dillard.” Justin explained. Justin and I talked about fundraisers, something most departments have annually. Another thing that Covid-19 changed was that fundraisers were cancelled for most all departments. I asked if that had hurt the fire departments at all. “Our County Commissioners take great care of the
Thank you each and every departments. The extra money brought into member of these departments each department helps to purchase extra for the role you play in equipment or things the department needs. The keeping us safe. greater benefit of these fundraisers is for folks to gather in support of the volunteers. To become Station 1 – Clayton Station 2 – Warwoman Station 3 – Tallulah/Persimmon familiar with members and boost morale. Many of these fundraisers became traditions and that is their greatest value.”, said Justin. Station 4 – Lakemont/Wiley Station 5 – Valley Station 6 – Chechero Station 7 – Tallulah Falls All of us at the Laurel and our readers extend our gratitude to all of our firefighters and their Chiefs in each department in our county and the surrounding counties as well. The sacrifices you are willing to make for others is humbling. Station 8 – Satolah The lives you save and the work that you do, well Station 9 – Sky Valley there aren’t enough words to express our thanks. Station 10 – The Lakes Station 11 – Wildcat Station 12 – Tiger A special shout out to Dalton Freeman who is part of our Laurel family and on staff with Rabun County Fire Services.
Rabun Native’s Heroic Actions Honored in Our Nation’s Capital
Nothing is more exciting for me than featuring local heroes, even if they move away. Eric Bradshaw, a native of Rabun County, works as a Firefighter/ Paramedic in Tennessee. Eric is the son of John and Lynn Bradshaw of Clayton. Eric and his wife McKenna and their three children live near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Eric Bradshaw has been called a hero, but he feels that he was just doing his job. A young lady named Madison Harber knows first hand how special Eric is. In April of 2021 Madison was traveling on East Emory Road in Knox County, Tennessee, when she was involved in a horrible crash. Her car was T-boned forcing metal deep into Madison’s right leg, hip and pelvis. Eric Bradshaw and co-workers from Rural Metro responded to the call. “I knew it was bad when we arrived. She was pinned in the vehicle. I crawled inside the car with her while they worked to free her from the automobile.” “I was honest with Madison and told her that the situation was bad and suggested that she pray. I told her we would do all we could to get her out of that car.” Eric was sure that if Madison lived, she would likely lose her leg. Eric used his arm to put pressure on the wound and worked to clean it out as best he could. “I was pulling metal pieces out of her wound, along with dirt and plastic,” he said in a telephone interview with me. “Her blood pressure was very low and she was losing a lot of blood. I called for a special gauze that we had just learned about in our Stop the Bleed class, called Quick Clot Gauze. I just started packing her injury with that gauze. At times my hand was wrist deep in her wound.” The wound was not the only issue Madison had. Her femur had a major break, the sacrum and pelvis were shattered and she had some internal injuries. Things didn’t look good but Eric remained very calm and never left her side for the 45 minutes it took to free her. Once they got her in the ambulance he told her that he had to open the wound back up to find the source of the bleeding. He told her it would be painful. When Eric opened the wound he found that her femoral artery was cut and was bleeding badly. He put the gauze back in directly on the artery and ended up using all of the impregnated gauze they had in the truck. Eric also administered the clotting medication TXA by IV to help stop the bleeding. They were then able to transport her to UT Trauma Center. What Eric didn’t know was that his Chief put his name in for the National Stars of Life award. Eric was chosen from thousands of paramedics nominated around the country. He was not alone, 130 paramedics total were chosen to come to Washington, DC to be honored for their heroic measures. “My wife and I, my parents and my brother were treated very well. I was humbled to be there and I am just glad I was there that day to help Madison.” Eric said. The team members from Knox County Rescue, that responded to Madison’s accident were honored for their life saving heroic actions at the Children’s Emergency Care Alliance Banquet in Nashville. Eric had the opportunity to watch Madison Harber walk up on stage and tell her story. He was so happy to see her walking and while he knew the road had not been easy for her, Eric knew how grave the situation was and that she is a walking miracle. Proud is an understatement. Eric’s family and this community are proud of the work he is doing. Eric is a hero here in Northeast Georgia too.