New fire coordinator hired for Pontotoc County

By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress

Pontotoc County’s new fire coordinator said he is ready to do his part in helping the fire departments countywide.
A 15-year volunteer with the Thaxton Fire Department, Adam Patton has worked full time for the Oxford Fire Department for seven years.
Patton recently was appointed as fire coordinator for Pontotoc County by the supervisors. He replaces Jim Littlejohn, who held the job last year.
“Working for the fire department is a challenge, whether you are working a wreck or a grass fire. You never know what you are going to face until you get there,” Patton said.
No novice to the job, the 29-year-old has been around the Thaxton Fire Department for practically all of his life. His dad has been the assistant chief at Thaxton for 25 years.
“I know my greatest challenge will be keeping all the departments compliant,” Patton said. “The state uses these figures to compile statistics on the number of fires that are fought statewide. The paperwork that is filed is also directly linked to the monies that the departments get on an annual basis.”
Patton will be in charge of seeing that the fire chiefs file the number of fires each department has as well as looking for any grants that are out there for the departments to use.
He is also the liaison between the fire departments and the supervisors and the state.
“We have a great group of fire departments,” Patton said.
One goal he has for the departments is to see all of them involved in their communities.
“Some of them are heavily involved, and some aren’t. I would like to see the folks in the community know each volunteer from their community,” he said. “When we get out and take the truck for a test drive or get involved in fund-raisers, it gives us an opportunity to be in the community, and we should do things like that.”
He knows the importance that the volunteer fire department plays in each community across Pontotoc County.
“Without volunteers, there would be no fire service in the county,” he said. “The volunteers are neighbors helping neighbors. They are the first ones there, whether it is a medical call or a fire call. It is where many full-time firemen first get their start.”
Recruitment of more young people is also something Patton would like to see.
“Our departments are aging, and we need more young people to get involved. Although you can’t get certified to fight a fire until you are 18, there are many things that those younger than that can do that helps,” he said.
“For instance, the truck needs washing, hose can be rolled up … there are all kinds of jobs outside of the direct fighting of a fire that needs doing to keep the department going.”
He encouraged any young person who is interested to get involved in their local fire department.
And he is ready to hit the ground running with his new position.
“I look forward to working with all the departments and the chiefs and supervisors,” he said. “I just pray the Lord will help me do a good job.”
regina.butler@journalinc.com