FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation brought together the fire departments of Milton and Forsyth County May 29 to celebrate public safety equipment grants awarded to both divisions. 

The foundation presented Milton Fire with body armor and helmets, and Forsyth County Fire received life-saving water recovery/rescue equipment at the Firehouse Subs location at 2320 Atlanta Highway in Forsyth County. 

The grant was the third received for the Forsyth County department. The division has also received a thermo imaging camera and a fire extinguisher simulator through the Firehouse Subs foundation. 

The latest grant will provide all of the county’s fire vehicles with life vests and “throw bags” for water rescues or recoveries. The 45 mesh bags contain 50 feet of rope that can be thrown to someone in either deep or swiftly moving water to allow firefighters to pull them to safety. 

“Obviously anytime we are engaged in that type of rescue, we are near water,” said Forsyth County Division Chief Jason Shivers. “And we also have to look after our own safety, so any time we are in that situation we need to have a flotation device so we do not become injured or a victim ourselves. The two [pieces of equipment] are symbiotic. This generous grant saved taxpayers over $17,000 and purchased much-needed equipment for us.” 

Milton received its funding for bulletproof vests and helmets last year, the first Firehouse Subs grant awarded to the department. 

Matt Marietta of Milton Fire said the equipment will be vital in rendering first aid during a hostile situation, including during an active shooter response.

“When we have an active assailant situation, we’ve learned over the last couple of decades that you can’t always wait until the scene is safe before we go in and render EMS care to someone who is injured,” Marietta said. “This [equipment] allows our firefighters to have that extra level of protection if we have an unfortunate situation of an active assailant.”

Milton Fire Chief Robert Edgar said the vests and helmets also provide mental protection. 

“I think it’s a sense of comfort for our firefighters that they know if we ever have to enter a hostile environment, we have the equipment to protect them,” Edgar said. “And not only does it provide comfort for our firefighters, it provides comfort to their families knowing that the city of Milton, along with Firehouse Subs, are getting everything we can to ensure they go home every day at the end of their shift.”

Edgar was thankful for Firehouse Subs Foundation for the grant. 

“When we put budgets together, sometimes we don’t think of everything,” he said. “When we realized these are items we should have and do not, it’s great that we are able to reach out to them, put in our grant application and receive that equipment.” 

Shivers also expressed his gratitude to the business and its foundation.  

“You can see their true passion for public safety, it’s not just a slogan or a business model,” Shivers said. “They truly care, and that means a lot to us.” 

Seventy-five percent of the foundation’s funding comes through public donations, including customers purchasing pickle buckets, adding to spare change canisters and the Round Up Program, which allows customers to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar with the remainder given to the organization. 

“I want to express a thank you to the public for their participation, because these grants would not be possible without them,” Shivers said. “That’s true, real money going back to the community, and we are very grateful.”

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