Walker County Emergency Services
Walker county Emergency Services (WCES) is located in Walker County, in the extreme Northwest Georgia region and serves as a gateway community for Chattanooga, Tennessee. WCES is a combination fire and rescue department; comprised of 18 stations, 94 personnel (50 career and 44 volunteer), and operating 72 suppression and command apparatus. The career personnel supplement our volunteer forces and respond throughout the county. WCES serves a population of 68,500 citizens in 462 square miles. The northern portion of Walker County has significant residential, business and industrial areas. The southern end of Walker County is primarily farmland. Walker County has three mountains in our response district. All three mountains experience a multitude of visitors each year who enjoy hunting, hiking, caving, bike riding and many more active outdoor activities. As you can see, Walker County is a very diverse area for emergency services. This presents many challenges in technical rescue along with fire services.
Firefighters in Action and Pictures of Current Apparatus
Walker County Fire and Rescue formed on January 1, 1996. Before that date, the City of Chickamauga and the County were protected by five separate volunteer fire and rescue departments. Those departments were Walker County North and South End Rescue, West Armuchee, Hinkle Fire Department, Chickamauga Fire Department and Post Volunteer Fire Department (PVFD) (Later PVFD was changed to Fort Oglethorpe Fire Department). Funding was attained through subscription sales for fire service. As time went by, subscriptions were hard to sell due to the fact that the fire departments would respond and extinguish the fire with or without a contract. This created a drop in sales thereby creating lost revenues. Two Fire Chiefs, Jim Hicks and Randy Camp, approached the county commissioner and asked about placing the subscription on the tax receipt. This was accomplished by adding a fire fee to the property tax. At the time, only about 30 percent of the population was paying for the fire service through subscription sales. This created a problem in decrease funds for operating the service and buying the needed protection gear for the volunteers. The addition of a fire fee allowed everyone to pay for fire protection and gave all of the departments an increase in their budget to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies. Later, the county commissioner was concerned about the money and how it was being divided equally between the five departments. He thought it would be best to form a united county wide service.
Several years after the formation of Walker County Fire Department the name was changed to Walker County Emergency Services (WCES). These changes recognize the action of the men and women by being an all hazard migration response team. In 2008, the local hospital advised the county that they would no longer provide the ambulance service for Walker County. In less than 90 days, WCES placed five (5) transport units into service. This service continued until the fall of 2015 when the county commissioner transferred the service to Puckett EMS.
A Vision of the Future
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Glimpse of the Past
WCES has established a five year strategic plan that is updated annually by by the administration who assigns the projects to individuals and groups within the department to enable us to attain our long term goals. Some of those goals are to:
A copy of our current year’s Action Plan is available via email by sending a request toFireHeadquarters@walkerga.us
Today WCES continues that strong sense of pride and dedicated service that was started by the volunteers many decades ago. We are proud of the work and contributions we have made to our department and our community. Though our accomplishments have given us a great sense of pride, we never take our eyes off our long-term goal – To carry on that tradition of service that was taught and to pass the torch forward to our brothers and sisters who will continue to charge onward into the future.