It's a project some emergency responders never thought would happen…the construction and completion of the first up and running fire station in the city along with a full time fire fighter in the city of Harlem. All funded by private donors and taxpaying citizens.
Harlem Captain Kevin Stokes says, “The main way it's helped us, is that we were able to split up and get responders on both sides of the track to help us respond better.”
The Harlem fire substation has helped emergency response time. They are now more efficient and fast. Especially for people who may live on the outskirts of the city.
Stokes explains, “We absolutely can do a better job. We've seen a large increase in volunteerism from the community. Even if that means a better presence out in the town, and our guys have a better since of pride and owner ship.”
In previous years, the city of Harlem operated under Columbia County. The police and fire responders worked together. Stokes says separating has helped them in numerous ways. One way it's helped is with time management. The other, is being able to get new equipment, like this $30,000 air compressor. A machine that is extremely important for fire men entering a burning building.
“The city went through and basically saw the need that we were way behind on police, fire and basically public safety facilities in general,” says Stokes.
Stokes says all residents should be able to rest a little easier- knowing nearly 22 volunteers and firemen are simply a minute away. The fire station right on main street offers weekly tours to children. They also have a new explorer program that allows High school students to learn the challenges and duties of a fire fighter.