Public safety trailer ready for work

by Wes Mayer

When the weather gets too hot or too cold, the Newnan Fire Department and Newnan Police Department have just what it takes to help firefighters, officers or any other public safety workers remove themselves from the elements.

A few years ago, Newnan Police Chief Douglas “Buster” Meadows acquired a mobile camping trailer and a truck to pull it from military surplus. The truck and trailer were free, but the city fire and police departments had to pay for some improvements.

The truck was a “lovely” shade of lime green when it arrived, so Newnan Fire Chief David Whitley said they had to paint it red to fit in with the rest of the fire department’s vehicles. They also discovered the trailer, which can expand outward to add more space inside, needed its own battery to operate. This, with some other improvements, only cost around $200.

The truck and trailer are kept at Newnan Fire Station 3 on Temple Avenue, and the rig is available at any time for any public safety department to use, Meadows said. The trailer has been equipped to operate as a mobile rehabilitation center and to provide shelter, warmth, air conditioning, water, food and rest to any public safety worker who needs it while on the job. Meadows and Whitley said it is meant for about four or five firefighters, officers or public workers to rest at a time.

The trailer contains five beds and a number of folding chairs, and it is equipped with supplies like replacement gloves and equipment, and drinks like coffee, water and Gatorade. The trailer also has running water, heating and air conditioning and can run off a generator if needed.

Meadows and Whitley said if they ever know the weather is going to drop below freezing or heat up to 85 degrees or higher, they will go ahead and get the trailer hooked up and ready. They said they are prepared to bring it to any scene in the county that requires a prolonged presence, more than seven or eight hours, in hot, cold or wet conditions.

“Whoever is on duty [at the fire station] will deliver it and set it up for whoever needs it,” Whitley said.

Due to maintenance issues, the trailer was not used during the two snow and ice storms that covered Coweta County and the city. In the several years the city has had the trailer, it has mainly been used as a command center during the annual Christmas parade, Meadows and Whitley said.

“We always knew it was there if we needed it,” Meadows said.

Meadows said he is hoping to add some drum fans, air heaters and some more sleeping cots to the trailer as well. He said he is competing with numerous other agencies for the cots, but recently he was able to get 200 wool blankets for the department and the trailer.

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