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Guyton aiming to add to first responder totals
Guyton fire
The Guyton Fire Departement includes (from left) Interim Fire Chief Scott Stringer, Andy Harville, Assistant Chief Nick Smalley, Lt. Chris Huntley, Interim Police Chief Joseph Coppola, John Morton, and Jerome Pereira. Andrew Wegner, Daniel Partain, Ron Rust, Matt Cosgrove, Paul Davis, Roy Campbell, Anthony Coppola and Steven Lisius aren’t pictured. - photo by Photo submitted
Guyton police
Interim Police Chief Joseph Coppola (left) and Officer Trey Hester III - photo by Photo submitted

GUYTON — One of the City of Guyton’s first orders of business is to add to its total of first responders.

Its fire and police departments currently have several vacancies and have been led by interim chiefs since Feb. 28.

Despite their staffing statuses, the fire and police departments have continued to provide quality service.

“As a matter of fact, we just  had a revisit from the (ISO) Insurance Services Office,” Lariscy said. “The ISO personnel came and reviewed everything and we maintained our four classification.”

The ISO creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities In the ISO rating scale, a lower number is better: 1 is the best possible rating, while a 10 means a fire department doesn’t meet the ISO’s minimum requirements.

Scott Stringer is currently in charge of the Guyton Fire Department, which is largely a volunteer organization.

“Our goal is to provide the same service that (Effingham County) is proposing, which would be two men around the clock,” Lariscy said. “Now, that may be an eventual process. In other words, the first thing we might do is get a full-time paid chief and a second full-time paid personnel. Of course, that would not be full-time, 24/7 around the clock but it will at least be somebody at the station eight hours a day everyday.

“With a volunteer fire department, what you typically struggle with is your volunteers are typically out of town. With Guyton and Effingham County being bedroom communities of Savannah, all your volunteers are likely in Savannah during the day at work. So having someone at the station during the work day is almost critical. That’s our first step and I think all the council is of that understanding to get somebody there even on Saturdays and Sundays.

“... We feel that 8 (a.m.)-to-5 (p.m.) window Monday through Friday is critical for a volunteer organization — to have somebody that can respond quickly and then the volunteers can meet them at the scene to provide the backup.”

Lariscy said the city has been advertising its job openings and hopes to have them filled soon.

“I’ve seen the sign up in Rincon saying that it needs volunteers (for the fire department,” Lariscy said. “I guess there is a need everywhere.”

The Guyton Police Department currently has two officers. Joseph Coppola is the interim chief.

“On the police side, we are have posted the police chief position and will be interviewing for that,” the mayor said. “We are also trying to build up that department. We have slots for officers also available. Right now, the department is not fully staffed but the personnel we have are doing the best they can.”

Lariscy lauded Guyton’s firefighters and police officers and looks forward to getting them the help they need.

“We appreciate all that our public safety personnel do for us — volunteers and paid alike,” Lariscy said. “It is certainly something that we aspire to keep our citizens safe.”