Growth & Prosperity
The 1980s were a time of growth and prosperity for many fire departments in the county. Many departments were getting the fire tax and funding was closer to where it needed to be. A lot of equipment was purchased, old stations replaced, water points established, preplans and response plans drawn and probably the biggest thing was the rural departments began to work more closely with the municipal departments.
In 1987 the county did something that helped all the emergency services and that is enhanced 911. Now the dispatchers for law, fire, and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are in one location and have the same number, 911. The dispatcher is now able to see on the computer screen the exact location of the fire as well as what fire apparatus to dispatch. With the dispatcher now able to know where the call came from it has stopped a lot of false alarms. We still have false alarms, however, now we call it a fire alarm activation. So much for technology.
By 1988 2 rural departments had lowered their Insurance Rating to below a class 9. They were South 7 and 6. Today many departments have improved their insurance ratings. This means property owners in those districts will see savings on their insurance premiums. These improvements came none too soon as this was a time when the population in the county began to increase dramatically.
Medical Responder Program
Also during the 1980s Rowan County EMS started the medical responder program. Whenever EMS is sent to a medical emergency in a rural fire district or a municipality a trained and certified team from the respective fire department is paged also. This has worked well over the years as it gets trained personal on the scene much sooner than an ambulance can get there. It also provides more people to help move a patient as Rowan EMS usually runs with a team of 2. I believe the Scotch-Irish Fire Department was the 1st department to provide this service in about 1987. This program works well and I believe it has saved lives as well as relieved a lot of suffering.