Emergency Services

GRAHAM COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES
Director – Larry Hembree
Email: larry.hembree@grahamcounty.org
70 West Fort Hill Rd
Robbinsville, NC 28771
(828)479-7967 Fax (828)479-6599

Graham County Emergency Management is located at 70 West Fort Hill. Office hours are from 7;00 am to 3:30 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. We now have 12 full time employees and work a 48 on and 96 off.

FIRE DEPARTMENTS
Graham County has two Fire Districts. Chief Keith Eller heads the Graham County Fire Department. There are Four stations. Station One is in Robbinsville. Robbinsville’s Chief is Jeff Millsaps. Other officers are Assistant Chief, Troy Grindstaff . 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 P D Royal. 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 4497 Tapoco Road. Santeetlah Fire Dept. Chief is Scott Cunningham. The other officer is Assistant Chief Rex Waldroup. This station serves the six miles around Santeetlah Lake, including the Town of Santeetlah. This station has, two tanker-pumpers. Station four is located at 262 Meadow Branch. Meadow Branch Fire Chief is Jamie Hyde and Assistant Chief Bret Williams. This station serves around the Tapoco area. This stations has a crash truck and Two tanker-pumper trucks.

Stecoah Township consists of two departments, Fire Department was certified in 1987 and at this point provides 6 mile Fire District in the Eastern part of Graham County.  The Fire Department provides different types of services for prevention and inspection.  The Rescue Squad was organized in 1963, to provide care to the people of Stecoah Township.  The department provides rescue in all levels and it provides EMS transport, and provides EMS training.  The Fire District covers Highway 28 From Swain County Line to half mile past Cable Cove Campground, and four and half miles on 143 about a quarter of a mile before Breach Creek Road.  The response area that is covered is from Fontana to Swain County Line.    If you need to contact us please do so by Email:  Stecoah@dnet.net, or follow us on Facebook.

RESCUE SQUAD
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.

911 COMMUNICATIONS
Graham County E-911 Communications was formed in 1992 and was located at 45 North Main St. The Emergency Services Director created and oversaw the department, with and advisory board with representation from Law Enforcement, EMS, Rescue and Fire services. The purpose of the department was to answer all emergency calls for Graham County, this included Fire, EMS and Law enforcement. By late 1992 Graham County was fully E-911. The department was operating two fully functioning answering points equipped with two 17″ screens, with maps, CAD and DCI. The communication center was also equipped with DTN weather; NWS weather radio, Tl internet capability and !FLOWS.
In 2007 the 911 Communications department moved to its current location on West Fort Hill. In 2009 it became a stand-alone department and the 911 supervisor was made the Director.
Currently 911 Communications has 3 fully functional answering points equipped with 5 21in. screens with Geoconex CAD and Map viewer, Priority Dispatch EMO, Zetron Integrator phone system, Zetron Max radio, and DCI computers, along with camera access to monitor the entrance and exit from the Emergency Services building. We have TDD capabilities for calls from the deaf and hard of hearing we are Compliant currently with text-to-911 from Verizion and At&t.
In April of 2013 Graham County Communications became Certified in National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch and implemented EMO in Graham County.
We are working on a regional initiative linking 911 service between Graham, Swain and Jackson counties. In 2015 Graham County 911 Communications submitted a NC911 Board grant application and was awarded a 3.4 million dollar Refresh and Relocation grant from the NC 911 board. This grant will relocate the 911 center to a new, state of the art 911 facility that is being designed and equipped to meet both current and future needs, including applicable standards by the NC 911 Board. It shall also further the regional initiative providing continuity of service between the PSAPS involved. We plan to be in the new location up and running by Spring/Summer of 2018.