GRAHAM COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES
Director - Larry Hembree
70 West Fort Hill Rd
Robbinsville, NC 28771
(828)479-7967 Fax (828)479-6599
Graham County Emergency Management is located at 49 South Main Street in Robbinsville next to the Sheriff's office. Office hours are from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. In emergency situations it is manned around the clock. Information is available concerning Tornado Awareness, Fire Safety, Winter Storms, Winterization, Emergency Preparedness Checklist, Family Disaster Supplies Kit, Family Disaster Plan.
This agency is responsible for planning for disasters. Disasters can be any emergency that taxes our local resources. Planning consists of identifying potential man made and natural disasters that could affect Graham County in the future, and then working with all the different agencies that might be involved in these potential disasters and identifying their roles and ways of dealing with the problems. Also a part of Emergency Management is Operations. During a disaster Emergency Management is a lead agency in coordinating resources in our county and resources that other state and local agencies might be able to supply Graham County. Emergency Management is also responsible for planning for accidents involving hazard materials and mitigating the effects of a release or spill. Search is another responsibility of Emergency Management.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
Graham County Emergency Medical Service has served the citizens of Graham County since the early 1970s, initially with basic EMT's. Then in 1987 Graham County started its Advanced Life Support program with the EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Advanced Intermediate. Finally in 1992 Graham County established the first EMT-Paramedic program in North Carolina west of Haywood County. This was accomplished through many long hours of training that our original paramedics volunteered to do. We owe a very special thank you to William (Skip) Myers, for the training we received. If Skip had not driven from Asheville at the time there would not have been a Paramedic Program in Graham County.
Graham County has two Fire Districts. Chief Keith Eller heads the Graham County Fire Department. There are three stations. Station One is in Robbinsville. Robbinsville's Chief is Jeff Millsaps. Other officers are Assistant Chief, Rex Smith and Lieutenant Jeremy Odom. This station serves the six-mile district around Robbinsville including the town of Robbinsville and Lake Santeetlah. The station has two pumper/tankers, and a brush truck. Station Two is located at Snowbird. Snowbird's Chief is Hugh Atwell. Other officers are Assistant Chief Wendall Waldroup and Captain Billy Lewis. This station serves the six miles around the snowbird station. This station has three pumpers, one tanker, one brush truck, and a equipment truck. Station Three is located at Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge's Chief is Jerry Collins. The other officer is Assistant Chief Rex Waldroup. This station serves the six miles around Pine Ridge including the Town of Santeetlah. This station has, two tanker-pumpers.
Stecoah Fire Department serves the five miles in and around Stecoah and responds from Fontana to the Swain County line. Stecoah's Fire Chief is Lynn Cody. Other officers include: Tom Smith Deputy Chief; Clifford Williams Assistant Fire and Rescue Commander; Kyle Williams, Captain Fire and Rescue; William Myers, Training Officer; Alan Sampson, Lieutenant; Joyce Cody, Treasurer; Pam Williams, Secretary; and Randy Jenkins, Traffic Officer. Stecoah has a pumper, a tanker, a brush truck, an equipment truck, a mobile command post and an two ambulances.
All the Fire Departments in Graham County are operated entirely by volunteers. These volunteers must keep a minimum of thirty-six hours of annual training, but most maintain much more. Not only do they volunteer to fight fires, they also volunteer to raise money needed to operate the department.
The History of Graham County Rescue Squad. On May 4, 1962 a local man drowned in Lake Santeetlah and when help was called a large group of Graham County men responded, but without any equipment for dragging. A call was placed to Murphy for Cherokee County Rescue Squad. The body was recovered early May 5th. A group of Graham County men decided to organize a Rescue Squad. No time was wasted and a meeting was held that night in the City Hall. Twelve men were present; Modeal Walsh, Leonard Williams, Monroe Sawyer, Lynn Buchanan, Huel Smith, Jesse R. Jenkins, Marshall Campbell, Doug Campbell, Lowell Garland, Larry Perkins, Edward Ingram and Heyward Crawford. Modeal Walsh was elected commander.
Next came the problem of raising money for equipment. Raffles for almost everything were held, door-to-door drives, food and drink sales were held each weekend. A food stand was erected to serve the first wagon train here. As money began to trickle in, it was put into equipment, life jackets, boats, dragging gear, lights, power plants, trucks, trailers, and two-way radio equipment. Fully equipped ambulances were secured, (one of which is equipped with a hospital type Coronary Care Unit, the second such unit for mobile use in the nation.) Two buildings were built, one at Tapoco a 28' x 30' and a 30' x 60' at Robbinsville. All types of convalescent aids such as hospital beds, wheel chairs, walkers, etc. were obtained for loan to people in need. During this growing period, the public learned to call the Rescue Squad for any emergency. The types of work performed by the members, fully trained in all types of first aid and rescue training, are too numerous to be listed-anything from a burned finger to an airplane crash, a lost child to a drowning person, a small dog trapped in a drain pipe, to a fatal auto crash. In 1968, the Rescue Squad took over the duties of the Robbinsville Fire Department. All these things and hundreds more were and are done by volunteer members not for money or recognition, but because they are their fellow men in need of help and give freely.
Graham County E-911 Communications was formed in 1992, as a stand-alone department. The purpose of the department was to answer all emergency calls for Graham County, this included Fire, EMS and Law enforcement calls. The Emergency Services Director oversaw the department, with an advisory board with representation from Law Enforcement, EMS, Rescue and Fire services.
In late 1992 Graham County was operating fully E-911. The communications department is operating two fully functional answering points. Each answering points are equipped with, two 17" screens, with maps, CAD and DCI. The communication center is also equipped with DTN weather; NWS weather radio, T1 Internet capability and IFLOWS.