County Firefighters Trained and Ready

City and county fire officials part ways, but say ultimately the separation creates a united front when the heat is on.

Lafayette County Fire Chief William Robinson says the newly formed department is now trained to face just about anything.

"We've been through live burns. We've been doing mock simulations on extricating people from a wrecked vehicle. We've been doing search and rescue; everything there is to do with being a certified firefighter."

There was even more training on Wednesday with AirMedic One. The department learned what to do if the medical helicopter is called.

Wilton Hamlin, a firefighter with Lafayette County Fire and Rescue said, "It's been tremendous. I've learned a lot. You learn everyday, official training, on the job training."

Last year, the county chose to break away from the Mayo Volunteer Fire Department. At that time, the city's fire chief said that it was unnecessary for the county to form a separate department. Hamlin says he's glad it did.

"I've seen the growing pains of being in the city with the small department. There was a lack of funds, lack of training and equipment. Now to the county, we have more resources offered to us. There's a lot more we're able to do."

Among the city and county, the total number of firefighters equals 35. Whether the two are together or separate, firefighters say what's most important is that it equals safety for the community.

The Mayo and Lafayette County Fire Departments are both volunteered.

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