Need Emergency Help? Chances Are, A Firefighter Will Respond Quickly

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 11, 2012

By Ron Semple
Special to the Enterprise

You first hear it faintly in the distance, then it’s louder – more insistent – then it swiftly fades away.
It’s the siren on a fire engine making its way down the road.That’s a familiar sound, nothing for you to worry about.
Not this time.
In Davie County, we can take it for granted that if we need help it will come quickly in a fire truck, an ambulance, a rescue truck or a patrol car.And take it for granted, we do.
 At heart, this is a story about all of our volunteer fire departments, our emergency medical service, our 911 emergency dispatch  team, our rescue squad  and our law enforcement officers. It’s about people who are there when we really need them.
But let’s zero in on the Advance Fire Department as an example.
Engine 1201 pushing its way down busy Highway 801 is a massive, bright red and white, highly sophisticated and expensive vehicle jammed packed with equipment and tools its crew will need to fight a fire, free people from a wrecked car, answer a medical emergency, isolate hazardous materials or even deal with a water rescue.
Its crew and other volunteers on the way are trained to cope with all this and more. But if the problem is too big or too complex for one or two fire departments, then more and more first responders and equipment will be dispatched until the situation is under control.
None of this happens by chance.
The Advance Fire Department was founded in 1952 in a community that slowly grew in population until about 10 or 12 years ago when its numbers virtually exploded. Its fire district covers 28 square miles and holds a multitude of residences, farms, industry, retail establishments, rail freight traffic, two schools, many churches, hundreds of miles of roads and recreational boating on the Yadkin River.
 Rodney Miller, 47, has been chief of the department for 12 years He also works fulltime as a captain on the Special Operations Team and Truck Company of the Winston-Salem Fire Department.
This is not unusual. More than a few of Advance’s volunteers are career firefighters, medics or law enforcement officers. This is true of most fire departments in most places in the United States …