NORTH FORSYTH — Last week, firefighter companies from Dawson and Forsyth counties each responded to a call from their dispatchers to a car wreck near the county line on Hwy. 53.
Though it’s not rare for departments to work together on those types of emergencies, it’s less common for crews who are based in different counties to respond from the same station.
Since late February, members of the Forsyth County Fire Department, who normally work out of Fire Station 8 on Keith Bridge Road in north Forsyth, have operated out of a Dawson County station and lived and worked alongside their neighboring fire department.
Until the new Station 8 is built at the same location as its predecessor, the two crews will be working and living together at Dawson County Fire Station 2 on Liberty Drive, just across the county line. The new Forsyth station, which is funded by local sales tax and impact fees, is expected to be in operation by spring 2017.
The living situation makes emergencies like the wreck, which happened about a quarter-mile on the Forsyth side, easier to deal with.
“Forsyth County has benefitted quite a bit,” said Forsyth firefighter Mickey Groover. “We both actually got a call. It was the same call, but in two different locations. With volunteers, we had more man power on that scene than you would on any other scene.”
When not responding to calls, the departments have plenty of opportunities to get to know each other, which both benefits camaraderie and allows both departments to do training and use equipment they may not otherwise have. The crews even trade off cooking duties on different nights.
“They’ve been great to work with,” said Dawson County Capt. Andy Scott. “I got to know these people that I’m going to be working with for the mutual aid calls in the area and by living together here, we get to know each other and train together.
“If I didn’t know Mickey — I’d never met him until March — it would be hard for me to trust Mickey on the scene if I didn’t know him.”
Though working out of the same building, each department primarily deals with its home county and only responds to emergencies in the other when requested, just like any other situation between Forsyth’s fire department and that of a neighboring county.
Though the situation is temporary, officials hope it will leave a long-lasting impact.
“If you fast forward into spring 2017 and new Fire Station 8 is active … that will still leave a lasting bond between those crews and the crews at Station 2 and the leadership of both organizations,” Forsyth Fire Division Chief Jason Shivers said.