July 23, 2008

City’s Fuel-Saving Efforts Fall Short

By Kim Sloan, The Daily Citizen, Dalton, Ga.

Jul. 23--Fuel conservation efforts proved futile during June for Dalton fire officials.

The fire department enacted several gas-saving measures last month which amounted to a savings of $500, Fire Chief Barry Gober told members of the Dalton Public Safety Committee Tuesday morning.

Those measures were:

--Pre-incident surveys were ended. The surveys involve firefighters going into area businesses so they will know the layout of the building if a fire happens.

--Firefighters only made one trip a day for meals. Firefighters were required to eat in-house or in the area where they were working.

--Training meetings on Tuesdays and Saturdays were canceled.

"I'm not prepared to tell you that $500 was worth the money," Gober said.

PSC chairman Lane Ashworth said the pre-incident surveys are needed.

"That's the layout of a building and how they are going to attack that building if there is a fire," Ashworth said. "They are very important."

Gober said the department has gone back to its normal procedures. He noted that often fire trucks are using fuel while running during an incident.

"The fuel bill for one weekend (during the Columbia Recycling fire) was around $4,000," Gober said. "No one can anticipate these things."

Police Chief Jason Parker said fuel conservation measures in his department saved 1,100 gallons of gas in June 2008 compared to June 2007.

The conservation methods included:

--Increasing foot patrol time from 15 minutes to one hour daily for officers.

--Employees stopping vehicle engines whenever possible.

--Officers doubling up in one patrol vehicle at selected times, with the second vehicle parked in a visible place.

--The number of bike patrol officers increased from four to seven.

Parker said more time is needed to measure the financial impact of the conservation efforts.


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