A ribbon cutting was held Saturday for the new 2,160 square foot Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad building which is located next to the existing facility near Green Brook Park.
Joe Johnson, Treasurer and Technician for the Rescue Squad, told WJLE that while the new building is now functional, there is still some work yet to be done to complete it. "We started out with an idea of redoing our Rescue Squad operation where we would have better response time so we came up with an idea for this building. We contacted the city and the county and got their okay. We made up some money and put $8,700 into an account. The county also gave us $8,700 so we had a total of $17,400. We started building from that with the plans and all the Rescue Squad (members) putting all the labor in. We had another fundraiser and built up some more money and as of today, we have actually spent roughly $21,000. That's approximately ten dollars per square foot. That includes doors, site work, utilities, and everything," he said.
Between the new building and the existing facility, Johnson said the Rescue Squad will be able to house all of its vehicles and equipment. "The new building is over 2,100 square feet. It's 60 feet long and 36 feet wide and we have three bays and each is 60 feet long and twelve feet wide. We have four Rescue Squad vehicles. One is a box truck. It is similar to an ambulance. It carries equipment. It can carry a patient. We have a heavy duty four wheel drive pickup truck that pulls the boats and goes in bad locations. We have an original 1969 carryall type vehicle that's very old but still functional. We have like an SUV that pulls the boats. We have a Gator for going in back locations. That's most of the large equipment. We'll keep two vehicles in here with boats hooked to them so that in an emergency, say if somebody has a boat wreck and they are bleeding and on the other side of the lake and ambulance personnel can't get to them, we can immediately leave, go to the lake, put in, and go across to get to them. We also have some paramedics and EMTs on our staff to provide temporary medical help until we can get them (victims) across to meet an ambulance so they can be taken to wherever they need to go," he continued.
The Rescue Squad still has to come up with another five to six thousand dollars to finish the new building according to Johnson. "It wouldn't take us but a couple of months to finish it if we had the money. It's a functional building and we can use it now but we still need to do the guttering. The ramps are graveled. We don't have any electrical wiring other than three lights and one plug but that's just to get us by until we can do better," Johnson concluded.
(TOP PHOTO: City Alderman Danny Washer, Rescue Squad Captain Dustin Johnson, City Alderman Tim Stribling, Rescue Squad Treasurer Joe Johnson, and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss. Other Rescue Squad members pictured in the background)