During a Tuesday morning presentation, representatives from Toyo Tires presented a check for $17,645 to the department for the purchase of high-diameter hoses.
Mouldings Unlimited on Highway 411 was lost in a fire in August, prompting Toyo Tires to seek out improving fire safety for its facility.
“We looked at the situation that had transpired down the road in White with the manufacturer. That type situation is very devastating to the community, as well as jobs lost, as well as to the facility,” said Toyo Environmental, Safety and Health Coordinator Barbara Long. “Mr. Hawk ... had come to me and asked to please bring our fire chief in as well as the fire marshal and say, ‘What happened? What were the lessons learned? What can we do as an industry ourselves to ensure No. 1, for our life safety within our facility and property of our organization as well as the community and how we can better assist within the community should a situation of this transpire in the future ... ?’ You know, how can we be better prepared and what lessons were learned?”
With the funds, the department will purchase 1,800 feet — in 100-foot lengths — of 5-inch diameter hose for engines at stations 1, 5 and 8. Currently, the largest diameter hose BCFD is equipped with is 3 inches across.
“What it does is the smaller the diameter of the hose, the more force it takes to move the same amount of water through that hose. So, if you open it up, it’s [less] resistance — the bigger the hose the less amount of pressure it takes to push it through. Thus, you can put more volume down a bigger hose with less force behind it. In turn, what that does is increase the gallons per minute you are able to flow and stay within the capacity of the pumps,” Bartow County Fire Marshal Bryan Cox explained.
Once the new hoses are onboard, Cox said the department could establish a water main roughly a half mile in length, which would cut manpower demands and increase firefighter safety.
Toyo’s facility in White employs around 900 workers and covers just over 2 million square feet. Long said the facility meets the highest level of fire suppression coverage, an issue uncovered in the Mouldings Unlimited conflagration.
“It was a Sandy. It was a perfect storm; everything came into place — the detection system was down, the alarm system was down ...,” Cox said. “If everything had been operational and they were doing what they were supposed to as far as no outside the guidelines on storage or stacking or anything, that fire ... wouldn’t have got half as big as this table. That’s the importance of the sprinklers.”
Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap said the partnership between the department and the manufacturer is a win-win for both parties.
“I’m just thankful for the partnership between Toyo Tires and the county fire department,” he said. “With this partnership, we both want the same thing. We want Toyo to stay safe and continue to operate, continue to provide jobs, continue to bring money into the community. And by being able to provide them a better fire protection than we could before with this hose, they’re making an investment in themselves when they invest in us.”
“You guys especially do a great job for us. Logistically, this couldn’t have worked out any better because of where we are located in conjunction with your station and the response time is incredible. Fortunately, we haven’t had any major issues. ... The care and the response couldn’t be any better,” Toyo President Jim Hawk said during Tuesday’s meeting.
In addition to improvements made after August’s fire, Toyo Tires and BCFD have partnered to train the 51 first responder employees at the manufacturer. The employees attend the 40-hour training required to be a state-certified first responder, Long said, and are part of the program on a volunteer basis.