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Inflation impacts public safety services in South Georgia and the Big Bend

Posted at 6:45 PM, Mar 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-11 12:57:30-04

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WTXL) — Thomas County EMS Director Derrick Ogletree said inflation is impacting public safety services just like it is everyone else.

However, they are still working just as hard to keep the public safe, with efforts like building a new fire station off of U.S. 319. This new station is not immune to inflation, though.

When originally presented to the county commission in 2020, the construction of the new facility was estimated to cost about $500,000. Now, it will cost almost $900,000.

"We have challenges just like everybody does with our supplies, getting supplies in and maintaining a certain allotment. Cost of supplies have gone up,” said Ogletree.

Simple construction supplies like plywood have increased in price.

According to the USDA, 1,000 square feet of plywood used to cost about $400 before the pandemic. Now, the same amount of wood costs upward of $1,400.

Ogletree also said new construction is not the only thing impacted by high prices. He said prices have gone up on a lot of things.

"Basically everything,” Ogletree said. “You know, we have to be mindful to look at our needs versus our wants."

About 50 miles south, Fire Marshal Tonnie Rollings says inflation is hitting the Quincy Fire Department as well. He said the prices have gone up on essentials.

"We function just like a home really. We are here twenty-four hours. So, food, cleaning items and things of that nature have all gone up,” Rollings said.

Despite rising cost, people are still trying to help first responders any way they can.

"We have great vendors. Not only here locally, but vendors out of town that we work with,” Ogletree said. “And they help us the best they can with maintaining the supplies we need for the every-day call."

Inflation is not the only national issue plaguing public safety services in the Big Bend and South Georgia. Ogletree also said that Thomas County EMS is seeing issues with staffing.