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. In 2008, the three Gaffney Fire Department stations responded to over 2500 calls for fire, rescue and medical assistance.
The Gaffney Fire Department installs smoke detectors in owner occupied houses of needy citizens in our district. Please contact the main station (864) 487-8516 located at 205 N. Limestone Street for assistance. If you rent your home then please contact your landlord, they are legally bound to provide smoke detectors for you.
The City of Gaffney has a no open burning ordinance. Under some circumstances the property owners can obtain a burn permit. Please contact the main station (864) 487-8516 located at 205 N. Limestone Street for assistance.
Why fire trucks respond to wrecks?
The Gaffney Fire Department responds to all wrecks in the fire district to provide first response medical care, assist with traffic, provide extrication when needed, and to control and hazardous material spills
Why did a fire truck respond to my house when I called for an ambulance?
The Cherokee County 911 center screens all calls and when it is determined that the medical call is severe enough and the local fire department can provide basic life support they are dispatched. The Gaffney Fire Department responds on all severe life threatening emergencies. All firefighters are trained in CPR and basic first aid. We carry AED’s (Automatic External Defibulators), oxygen, first aid supplies and CPR equipment on all first out equipment. This is a service we provide the citizens of the district. The fire department can be closer than the ambulance to provide these services in a quicker response.
Why do I see the fire trucks out when there is not an emergency?
The firefighters are always ready to respond to emergencies. The crews are always left together so they may be doing training, fire inspections, pre fire plans, plant tours, installing smoke detectors, or simply out grabbing their lunch or dinner. We strive to keep all trucks inside their main response area when feasible. The main misconception is that when a truck is not at the station they are not able to respond to “my” residence.
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 work days 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 through 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 down time 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.