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Growing for the Future

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

An excerpt from

"Answering the call: West Jackson Fire Department works to meet needs of rapidly growing community" by Braselton News Today, Dec. 13, 2023

Members of the West Jackson Fire Deparmtnet, along with EMS, work an accident scene in late November.
Members of the West Jackson Fire Department, along with EMS, work an accident scene in late November.

2023 has been a banner year for West Jackson Fire Department (WJFD). With Jackson County's rapidly increasing west side population, call volumes are well outpacing those of previous years. Through September 2023, the WJFD had already handled more calls than the entirety of 2018. By the end of October 2023, the year-to-date call volume had exceeded 2019, and in November, call volume surpassed 2020.

2022 was a record year for the WJF with approximately 1,000 calls answered, and Chief Ben Stephens believes that they will break that record this year.

Thankfully for West Jackson residents, response time hasn't lagged. The WJFD added a second station in 2021 to handle call demand north of I-85. Response time for both stations remains at less than six minutes.

But the department will continue to need to meet the demand of an exploding population.

Stephens showed statistics that reveal a 173% population increase based on new home approvals in the WJFD 30-square mile territory. When all the homes are built out, the WJFD is looking at a service area of over 33,000 residents.

The Team

Of course, they'll need more firefighters. The department now has 22 full-time and seven part-time employees and plans to add an employee on duty every other year to meet the territory's demand. But the phase-in plan could increase as the West Jackson Fire Board reviews staffing numbers each year. Interested in a career with WJFD? Join the Team.

Station Updates

The department continues to position itself to handle the population surge. It recently closed on seven acres on Sam Freeman Rd. near Hwy. 124 to build Station 3. The WJFD hopes to open that location—which will include a training facility and possible collaborative space with other county agencies—within the next five years. There's also a Hoschton station in the works.

Equipment Updates

West Jackson Fire Department recent completed a fleet update which now includes three engines and three trucks.

In the face of the west side's growth, Stephens said he's excited for the future with the department having a completed fleet update, plans for a new station and a strong staff. "I think we have a good foundation to build from," he said.

Read the full article at Braselton News Today.

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