Annual reports roll in during January and the Berlin Fire Department's chief counts 2009 as a good year.
"This year has been especially eventful with the completion of an addition to our fire hall," Fire Chief Joe Greer reports. "This is the culmination of years of planning and preparation.
"The three new truck bays provide more convenient access to the fire trucks," Greer said. "More space around the trucks and bigger doors make getting in and out of the station much easier. This is especially nice when responding to an emergency."
Furthermore, "The space freed up in the old truck bays provides ample room for training as well as storage space," he said. "This addition will be used to serve the community for many years to come."
Brian Hagood of B&N Construction in Lewisburg landed the contract to build most of the addition.
"Brian was great to work with and allowed us to do what we could to help cut costs," Greer said. "Firefighters and community volunteers did all of the electrical, painting and finish work.
"The total cost to the addition was under $60,000," the chief said. "We had planned and saved for this addition for some time. We had a small note on it for a short period of time, but it is now paid off."
Greer declined to estimate the building's appraised value - ultimately an irrelevant figure since it's tax free and is more important from its values to the community for fire suppression and a meeting place for area residents.
"Also this year we have the addition of a new service for the BFD," Greer continued.
"We are now a certified First Responder department. Six firefighters have completed necessary training to respond to medical calls when requested by Marshall County Emergency Management Service. These firefighters spent several weeks going to school in the evening and on Saturdays to learn the required skills.
"Included in this training was practical exercises and riding out with the ambulance service. All of this prepared them to pass the tough state registration test in Nashville.
"The six Berlin First Responders are: Assistant Chief Bill Turner, EMT-IV; Capt. Chris Carlough, EMT-IV; Capt. Scott Allen; Firefighters Lori Allen, Ricky Liggett and Ray Luna.
"We hope to have more trained and certified in 2010," the chief said.
Several events are already scheduled for 2010. They include: a country ham breakfast on March 13; a hamburger and ice cream supper on June 12; and another ham breakfast on Sept. 4. The events are open to the public.
Greer expressed his appreciation for the participation and support from "a dedicated group of firefighters who are willing to train and prepare themselves to respond when called upon.
"We could not do this without you."