BUCKHEAD RIDGE — The Aug. 29 meeting of the Buckhead Ridge Community Association (BHRCA) saw 46 people turn out for a great fried chicken potluck supper. Many were concerned about Hurricane Dorian, but evidence around the community indicated that Buckhead Ridge residents were aware and prepared.
Following dinner, they heard Neil Chapman, retired fireman/instructor, lead a discussion about Glades County’s efforts to provide two paid employees in each of four fire stations — Buckhead, Lakepoint, Moore Haven and in the western part of Glades, each staffed by two firefighter/medics. This would mean a $258 increase in Glades County taxes.
There are currently only two medics in the whole county, centrally stationed in Moore Haven. Mr. Chapman reported 88% of all calls are medically related. Transporting those persons to regional hospitals means at least a two-hour turnaround.
They have tried to accomplish this in the past by having classes to get volunteers certified through training, but a lack of interest closed this avenue. Most of Glades County is manned by volunteers. BHRCA has supported money-raising efforts through which many volunteers have been certified, but they only have three currently available.
If the tax is not approved, the county would have to continue counting on volunteers. If it is approved, the county could apply for federal SAFER grants (Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response, a Federal Emergency Management Agency program), which would pay for firemen at the six stations in the county for three years.
Speaking against the tax proposal was District 5 Commissioner Tim Stanley, county board chairman, who said, “If BHR could recruit eight volunteers for the 1,000 homes in the community, BHR could save that tax money and, instead, support the training of our volunteers.”
Following the fire information, talk turned to Hurricane Dorian; what still needed to be done and how to find information and answers concerning the expected storm.