Bethany Salem Volunteer Fire Department serves the southwestern corner of Pickens County. We provide First Response Emergency Medical Care, as well as initial Fire response for fires and motor vehicle collisions. We are an ISO class 4/4x, effective September 1, 2018.
Members use their own vehicles in many rescue and first response calls. Without their generous support the volunteer fire department could not operate. Training for volunteer firefighters, as well as professional firefighters is an ongoing, never ending process. Rescue and life saving skills require firefighters to spend many hours each year training.
Bethany Salem volunteers have responded to many calls for service from the residents it serves. In 1991, Bethany Salem responded to 11 calls. In 2017, we were dispatched to 349.
The initial organization of Bethany Salem Fire Department began in the spring of 1990. Frank Riddick, TJ Prather and Ronnie Brownell, all veteran firemen met with Commissioner Bill Quinton to discuss a new station for the Salem and Bethany Church areas.
The initial Board of Directors was Frank Riddick, Jim Smith, Norval Vollrath, Tim Prather, Mable Brown, and Barbara Byrd. Under the direction of these board members, construction began on the Bethany Station on November 2, 1990. We received our compliance with the State of Georgia on November 29, 1990. Frank served as Fire Chief and President of the Board of Directors until his retirement in 1999. Tim Prather was appointed Fire Chief until January 2011. In January 2011, Al Godin was appointed Fire Chief, and served until his retirement in June of 2014.
Often overlooked, but equally important are donations of equipment, real property, materials, and other out of pocket contributions. Members, and others, have given countless hours of their time and professional skills in property maintenance, electrical, plumbing, carpentry, mechanical and other services.
Many hours, days and weeks have been given to fundraising since the opening in 1990. Every year from 1990 – 1998 two or more flea markets were held. Beauty Pageants have since become our major fundraiser.
Land for the original Bethany Station location came from Inland Rome; land for the Salem Station came from Ms. Shirley Chambers and Century 21. Construction on the Salem station began in May of 1995 and was completed and placed in operation on August 15, 1996.
Bethany Salem began with a used 1967 American LaFrance Fire Engine and an old fuel truck, bought for $1 from John Garrett out of Marietta that was converted to a tanker truck, a handful of members and one station. Today, Bethany Salem operates 3 engines a 1999 International, a 2004 Mack, and a 1977 Hahns, the original tanker was put on a different chassis and modified in 2000 and is still in-service today, and in 2007 we acquired a 1990 Fire Knocker; we currently have over 25 members on roster, and 2 stations.
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