In October 1899, the concern for the life safety and property conservation became apparent when the citizens of Gaffney met to discuss a fire department for their City. In March of 1900, the newly organized Gaffney Fire Department met for the first time to train with their new equipment, which was housed adjacent to the old city hall at the intersection of Limestone and Meadow Streets. In the early part of the 21st century, the Gaffney fire Department built two substations to provide better protection to the city and county fire service district.
The Gaffney Fire Department has developed from a volunteer department with only a hose cart to a paid department with 33 paid firefighters, 1 paid fire chief, 1 paid secretary, and 1 paid Training Officer operating 7 pieces of fire fighting apparatus protecting approximately 25,000 residents of the Greater City of Gaffney area. All firefighters are trained to the NFPA level of Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Medical First Responder. We staff two of our three fire stations with one engine company each while the company at the main station splits duty as ladder and engine company. We also have a reserve engine and three support vehicles.
Our fire district is made up of a mixture of residential, commercial, and industrial facilities, including approximately 10 miles of Interstate 85, a major route of travel between Washington D.C. and Atlanta, Georgia; 10 miles of the Plantation and Williams petroleum pipelines; 12 miles of railroad with 26 freight and passenger trains each day; and two power generation plants located along the Broad River.
The Mission of the Gaffney Fire Department is to Serve the Citizens and Businesses of the Greater Gaffney Fire District by Protecting Life, Property, and the Environment from the Hazards and Dangers of Fires, Medical Emergencies, and Manmade and Natural Disasters Through Prevention, Education, and Timely Incident Response.
For more information, please visit Gaffney Fire Department or call 864-487-8516.
A Firefighter's Life
Firefighting is a unique job. It can allow times of peace and quiet suddenly interrupted by the shrill of alarms. The hours differ greatly from most careers, and the life of a Firefighter is often misunderstood.
A Firefighter is away from their families from early morning through the night. Their shift starts at 7 am and doesn't end until 7 am the next morning. In most careers, the individual spends about eight hours per day at their work location and then goes home to their family in the evening and are home for weekends and holidays. Firefighters work 24 hours instead of the normal 8-hour workdays of most folks. After their 24-hour shift, the Firefighter is then off for 48 hours, and then the cycle repeats. This 3-day cycle repeats continuously throughout the year including weekends, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
A Firefighter spends 1/3 of their time at work compared to the norm of only 1/4. It puts a great strain on family dynamics to adjust to the odd hours and the missed family events and holidays.
Some days seem to be nonstop action, but most have some downtime between calls. Firefighters can rest, eat meals, study for promotional exams, expand their education, or read providing their chores are done, but all must be set aside when a call for service comes in. The Firefighters have an extensive list of chores, some of which are:
- Assuring their personal protective clothing is ready for use.
- Assuring their breathing equipment is in working order.
- Assuring the fire apparatus are clean and in good working order.
- Checking all tools and equipment.
- Maintaining the fire stations and daily housekeeping duties.
- Participating in training exercises.
- Physical fitness initiatives.
- Pre fire plans and inspections
What does a Firefighter do to serve the community? A Firefighter conducts public education programs, visits businesses and neighborhoods to preplan for emergencies, installs smoke detectors, provides guidance and checks for hazards in non-fire situations, and assists other public safety agencies. As always, their duties can be interrupted by the better-known responsibilities such as:
- Rapid medical response.
- Rescue people from buildings, vehicles, water, machinery, and heights.
- Extinguish fires in buildings, vehicles, wooded areas, sheds, and trash containers.
- Handle hazardous materials spills and releases.
The Firefighters serving the City of Gaffney and the Greater Gaffney Fire Protection District are a unique group of dynamic individuals teaming together to serve the public in a professional and efficient manner.