Lawrence County is home to 10 fire and rescue departments, most of which operate with a staff of unpaid volunteers. Each of the county’s departments, who are dedicated to the safety of their communities, have agreed to share their stories over the next 10 months.
Hatton Fire Chief Steve Coan, who also serves as the president of the Lawrence County Firefighters Association, said many aren’t aware of the extensive hours these firefighters dedicate each week in addition to their everyday jobs.
“It takes a special kind of person to dedicate that much time and heart to the well-being of others,” he said.
Hatton Fire Department was organized in 1972. The all-volunteer department currently operates with 21 firefighters, four of which are emergency medical technicians (EMTs).
“With the support of the Hatton community, under the direction of the nine-member board, and through the work of the volunteer members, the department includes one quick-response vehicle, three engines, three grass and woods vehicles and one special operations trailer,” Coan said.
The Department serves a population of approximately 4,400 citizens over an area of 113 square miles. Their service area includes more than 170 fire hydrants.
“Our Department was the first in North Alabama to organize a rapid response unit,” he added. The unit was established in 1980.
According to Coan, the Department averages about 250 calls per year. Of those calls, he said Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls make up about 60 percent while fires, natural disasters, gas and other emergencies carry the remainder.
Residents can make the jobs of these first responders a little easier by taking a few extra measures at their homes, according to Coan.
“Having your house number clearly visible at the roadside—whether day or night, rain or shine—helps first responders find your residence,” he said. “While a variety of circumstances can occur, the Department strives to meet the needs of the community with the resources we have and to the best of our ability.”
In addition to the time spent on calls, the volunteers train at least four hours per month on a regular basis—collectively and in individual training—through the Alabama Fire College and other agencies, said Coan.
He said the Department participates in an automatic aid agreement with other fire departments in the county. Hatton Fire Department is funded by the fire fee bill, which was enacted in the 1990s.
It holds an ISO fire score, measured by the Insurance Services Office, of 6/6B. ISO ratings are used to determine how well fire departments are equipped to fight fires in their communities, and these scores are provided to homeowner insurance companies to calculate insurance rates for the specified area.
ISO fire scores range from one to 10, with one being the best possible rating.
The Hatton Fire Station is located at 7144 Alabama Highway 101 west of Town Creek.