Fannin declares state of emergency after Zeta

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state of emergency

FANNIN COUNTY, Ga – Fannin County Commission Chairman issued a local state of emergency declaration following tropical storm Zeta.

The declaration cites Zeta as an event of critical significance that occurred on Thursday, October 29, 2020. The emergency requires “extraordinary and immediate corrective acts for the protection of the health and safety of the citizens.”

Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is activating the emergency operations plan. Also, the emergency management ordinances adopted by the county are activated.

Since Helton couldn’t reach the EMA center to physically issue the declaration, County Attorney signed the document for him with express permission.

County Operations

The courthouse is closed today, but early voting is still taking place on the third floor.

City Hall is closed and the special called meeting tonight is canceled.

Officers honored for life saving actions

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS, News, Police & Government
Fannin County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, EMA, EMS, First Responders, Fire Department, Paramedics, Narcan, Life Saving, Overdose, Corporal Dustin Carter, Investigator Gary Edwards

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Two officers with the Fannin County Sheriff’s Department were honored for their quick thinking that resulted in a life being saved.

A call came through dispatch of a single vehicle accident on Highway 2 near Flowers Baking Company. A silver Ford Focus driven by Michael Peppers of Blue Ridge had left the roadway and struck a tree.

Fannin County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office, Emergency Management, EMA, EMS, First Responders, Fire Department, Paramedics, Narcan, Life Saving, Overdose, Corporal Dustin Carter, Investigator Gary Edwards

(L – R) Investigator Gary Edwards, Corporal Dustin Carter

Corporal Dustin Carter and Investigator Gary Edwards were first to respond to the scene and saw that the male driver was alone and trapped in the vehicle.

“The door panel was crushed from striking the tree,” Investigator Edwards spoke of the scene upon arrival. 

The door was unable to be opened and both officers saw the condition of Peppers deteriorating.

“He was slightly responsive. He was losing color and as we were speaking to him, his condition worsened and he just went out, non-responsive, lost all of his color,” Edwards recounted the quickness in which Peppers’ condition worsened.

Accident reports from that day detail how Peppers’ skin color began to become grayish in hue as his eyes rolled back and his breathing came to almost a complete stop.

“He was on the verge of completely not breathing. He was having agonal respirations,” Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham spoke of Carter and Edwards’ actions and explained that agonal respirations is a gasping for air that is associated with body reflex and is seen in medical emergencies.

Investigator Edwards and Corporal Carter worked together to free Peppers from the vehicle, Edwards having to break out the back window to gain access. It was at this point that Carter recognized the signs of a possible overdose and Edwards retrieved his supply of Narcan.

Narcan is a nasal spray used for the treatment of an opioid emergency or a possible opioid overdose with signs of breathing problems.

Upon returning, Edwards reported that Carter was able to free Peppers from the vehicle and had him laying down on the ground. Edwards administered the nasal Narcan and Peppers began to breathe and move again.

When paramedics arrived, both officers helped to load Peppers onto the stretcher and observed that he was talking to paramedics as they left the scene.

“Seeing his reactions. From the time we got there, he was kind of responsive to unresponsive in just a few minutes,” Carter explained the decision to use Narcan. Carter says that training and experience are how he was able to quickly recognize the signs of a possible overdose.

The officers were given pins of recognition by Fannin County’s Emergency Management Team to acknowledge that their quick thinking and actions were directly responsible for saving a life.

Special Recognition given by Board of Education

Community, Fannin County EMA/EMS, Rebel's Corner
Fannin County School System

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education took time at their Feb. monthly meeting to give special recognition to those who have positively impacted the school system recently.

First to be recognized was West Fannin Elementary School (WFES) First Grade teacher Katy Roberson and  WFES Student Governance Team member Jocelyn Miller for their work which has brought state and national attention to the Fannin County School District.

What all began with the reading of a book, Stellaluna, to a class, has become an ongoing project that is now in its third year.

A former student of Roberson told her of a “bat house” that they have at home and from there the project evolved.

“She (Roberson) was able to take the concept of bats and integrate all of the subjects into it and the kids were basically learning math. They were reading. They were doing science, all through the lens of bats,” Miller spoke of the teacher’s work with children.

Miller, who is now going for her doctoral degree, along with Roberson wrote an article about the project titled “At Home with Bats”. This article was published in the National Science Teachers Association peer-reviewed journal “Science and Children”.

Since then the article has gone on to be published on university websites, garnering even more attention for education in our area.

Next to be recognized for their work with the school system was Fannin County’s Emergency Management Agency (EMA).

Through their Stop the Bleed Campaign, Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham, Fannin County Training Officer Ryan McDavis, and EMS Child Advocate Rebecca Huffman were all recognized for the work put into training staff of the school district.

Stop the Bleed is a program set in place by the American College of Surgeons and works to train people worldwide on how to stop bleeding in a severely injured person. 

After training, the school district received several Stop the Bleed kits which have been put in place not only in the schools but also on every bus, along with a standard first aid kits.

Fannin County School System Director of Transportation Denver Foster called these kits, “a little bag with a lot of life saving power in it”.

Foster also thanked Fannin County’s EMA/EMS for their ongoing role in working with the school system to provide safety to its students on a daily basis.



Click here to read about those honored at last month’s meeting.

Conditions worsen during winter storm

Community, News

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Conditions are quickly worsening as a Winter Storm moves through our area. 

Snow began to fall in Fannin County early this morning and is expected to continue throughout most of the day. 

The Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) sent out a Nixle Alert at 9:03 a.m. warning drivers to stay off of roadways if at all possible.

Roads are extremely slick with ice under snow. Please stay in if at all possible.

Road crews are working to clear roads but at this time most roads are extremely slick due to snow and ice. Wet pavement under the snow has turned to ice in many areas throughout the county.

Fannin County EMA Director Robert Graham updated FYN on the conditions in our area. 

“The pavement was wet when the snow started falling, so the wet areas on our roadways have turned to ice,” Graham explained the situation.

Graham went on to say that he is in contact with Public Works Director Zack Ratcliff: “Zack has crews out now and they are working as fast as they can to try to clear the roads.”

Public Works crews are out on roads throughout the county scraping and salting, but with the ice forming underneath the snow it will be much more difficult to get roads cleared.

According to Graham there are several vehicular wrecks in our area with many of these being along Highway 5. Graham was unsure of the severity of all the accidents at this time, but did state that the majority of wrecks have been people sliding off the roadways and into ditches.

“Many of the roads have become or are becoming impassable,” Graham said, adding, “We are having to shut some of them down.”

Graham urges residents to please stay off the roadways at this time and allow crews to try to clear as much as possible.

FYN will bring your updates throughout the day as they become available.

Two homes catch fire, one belonging to FCHS wrestling coach

Fannin County EMA/EMS, Health

BLUE RIDGE, Ga – Officials looking into how two homes in the county caught fire. The blazes occurred a little over a week apart, and one home belonged to first year Fannin County High School (FCHS) wrestling coach. No injuries reported in either fire.

In the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 23, Fannin County Fire Department (FCFD) responded to a fire in the Aska Road area. The house was vacant at the time of the blaze with 60 to 70 percent of the structure engulfed in flames.

Photo Courtesy of FCFD/EMS of Aska Road fire response.

FCFD did shut down one lane on Aska Road for part of the morning while trying to contain the fire.

Currently, the State Fire Marshall is investigating the cause. Details about the Dec. 23 fire are still developing, and FYN will update as information becomes available.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, on Meadow Creek Way, FCHS Wrestling Coach Chuck Patterson and his family lost their home to a fire. Luckily, Chuck, his wife, Cathy, their boys and dogs all made it out safely. However, the family did lose their home, everything inside, and both vehicles.

An electrical area in the front of the home can’t be ruled out as possible cause at this time, according to FCFD. No foul play is suspected in the Patterson fire.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Patterson family and has raised $18,950 as of Dec. 23. The GoFundMe has a goal of $25,000. United Community Bank (UCB) also set up the Chuck Patterson Benefit Fund for those interested in assisting the family during this trying time. To donate, simply approach a teller and tell them that you want to contribute to the benefit. If you have an account with UCB, you can also call the bank.

FCHS is accepting clothing donations for the Patterson’s. Their sizes are as follows:

Clothing donations can be dropped off at the FCHS office.

Chuck: XXXL shirt, 42-44 pant, 12.5 shoe

Cathy: XL shirt, 12-14 pant, 8.5-9 shoe

The boys’ Sizes: 8 shirt, 7 pant, 3 shoe and 5T or 4/5 shirt, 5T or 4/5 pants, 12 shoe (children)

The family is new to Blue Ridge and the Fannin County School District. The Fannin County High School wrestling team is lucky to have such an amazing and inspiring coach.

Feature image courtesy of FYN reader.

Fannin County EMA/EMS Report for September 8, 2019 thru September 14, 2019


Fannin County EMA/EMS

Director Robert Graham

20 Station Ridge

Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513


Fax 706-632-8003



September 8, 2019 thru September 14, 2019 Responses


M1:   36

M3:   12

M4:   30

M11: 28


Gilmer EMS: 1

Polk EMS: 2


Total: 109

Includes 13 out of town transfers


Law:          351

Fire:           8

Rescue:    39


Total Emergency Calls:      459


Total Incoming Phone Calls (911 and Admin): 985



New Fire Station Completed and Ready to Assist Citizens of Fannin County

Fire Station

Blue Ridge, Ga – The new Fire Station/Public Safety Complex reached completion after two years of effort with an open house scheduled for Aug. 30.

EMA Director Robert Graham presented aerial shots of the finished facility to the commissioners during the Aug. 13, 2019 meeting.

“We intentionally did not take any pictures of the inside because we want everyone to come out on Aug. 30 and see the facility for themselves,” said Graham.

The dedication starts at 11 a.m., and visitors can tour the public safety complex while munching on some refreshments.

“The building is something that Fannin County should really be proud of. It should serve the county well for years to come. We did finish up the back part of the building,” stated Graham.

Fire Station

Aerial shots of the complex courtesy of Fannin EMA.

“Unfortunately, Earl, I was not able to keep it under $200,000. It ended up being $200,869.02.”
However, the last bid from contractors was $439,000, so the county did it for around $200,000 cheaper than expected.

“It’s really pleasing to see what we all thought was true when we received the last bids, said Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson, “We saved $239,000 to build out the back spot. The money can carry on in other places and help in places where we need it.”

Graham thanked all the subcontractors who participated in completing the building.

The entire cost of the building ended up being $4,134,462.83 and paid upfront with taxpayer funds. The county owes nothing on the building.

“All the volunteers and employees are very proud of the facility, and I hope the citizens of Fannin County are too,” commented Graham.

The construction of the fire station resulted from a collaborative effort from everyone involved from previous commissioners to all EMS/EMA employees. Graham sought out opinions from everyone to ensure Fannin had the best facility possible for the future.

“When we did a reevaluation and redesign to keep the effectiveness of the fire station, you got input from everybody that works in your command,” said Chairman Stan Helton, “Their suggestions were extremely valuable to making this work.”

Fire Station

Direct Overhead shot from Fannin EMA.

Post Two Glenn Patterson also commended Graham and his department for the new fire station.

“It has been a long process,” said Johnson, “The good thing is we can go over there and touch everything. The taxpayers have something that they can touch and see, and know that they don’t owe a dime on it.”

The open house will be on Friday, Aug 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 4/28 – 5/4

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

April 28, 2019 thru May 4, 2019 Responses

M1: 28
M3: 13
M4: 19
M11: 27

Total: 87

Law: 373
Fire: 10
Rescue: 30

Total Emergency Calls: 482

Total Phone Calls to 911 Center (Emergency and Admin): 1947

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 5/5 – 5/11

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

May 5, 2019 thru May 11, 2019 Responses

M1: 35
M3: 11
M4: 25
M11: 25

Polk County: 1

Total: 97

Law: 403
Fire: 7
Rescue: 27

Total Emergency Calls: 507

Total Incoming Phone Calls (911 and Admin): 983

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 5/12 – 5/18

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

May 12, 2019 thru May 18, 2019 Responses

M1: 41
M3: 21
M4: 27
M11: 35

Total: 124

Law: 380
Fire: 8
Rescue: 30

Total Emergency Calls: 507

Total Incoming Phone Calls (911 and Admin): 857

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 4/21 – 4/27

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

April 21, 2019 thru April 27, 2019 Responses

M1: 39
M2: 1
M3: 9
M4: 19
M11: 31

Total: 99

Law: 346
Fire: 13
Rescue: 38

Total Emergency Calls: 462

Total Phone Calls to 911 Center (Emergency and Admin): 1781

Fannin Operating Two Percent Under Budget

2020 Budget

Blue Ridge, Ga – Fannin County’s operating two percent under budget through April of 2019.

As of April 30, 33 percent of the budget’s been spent for the year with Fire/EMS/ EMA, Tax Assessor, Sheriff’s Office, and County Jail still showing over budget due to the first of the year lump sum lease and loan payments made at the beginning of the year.

Per the April 23 meeting, Chief Financial Officer Robin Gazaway broke out the Public Works and SPLOST Budget to provide more clarity about where the money comes from and is going.

Fannin County Board of commissioners budget

Several departments are still showing over for the year.

“The public works old SPLOST is because we’re going to use the old money on the roads until it runs out, and then we’ll start on the new SPLOST,” explained Gazaway.

Baseball admissions factored in slightly into the recreation budget, but the month of May was not reflected in this report.

“We’re two percent under budget because we’re making up some of the differences from earlier in the year,” stated Gazaway, “LOST and SPLOST collections are up again this month from the prior years.”

Thirty-three percent into the county’s operating budget as of April 30, 2019.



EMA Director Robert Graham advised choosing Custom Works for the ambulance remounts at $104,980 as the most acceptable vendor for the job. The business also priced an add-on door locking systems for the ambulance at $1,800, bringing the total to $106,780.

“The locking system on the doors on the box [will be] activated front door locks when we lock the front doors,” said Graham, “We need this because we make many trips out of town to hospitals, and we need to lock the back of the truck. Our drugs and equipment are all in the back.”

Currently, seven doors and compartments must be locked with a key when getting out of the truck, and EMA employees must remember to unlock these doors when going back out to have access to them.

“It would be a great benefit to add that to this truck and going forward in the future to the standard bid specs,” lobbied Graham.

The truck won’t be available until closer to 2020 due to Chevrolet chassis unavailability.

Graham also confirmed that the county wouldn’t be short on equipment during this time with back-up trucks and placing an order for a new ambulance to replace an aging one with 90,000 plus miles on it.

Next, Graham introduced bids for a new ambulance to be purchased in the 2020 and on that year’s budget. Currently, new ambulance models aren’t available, but a waiting list has formed for 2020. Graham wanted to go ahead and get Fannin’s EMA name on the list.

“If we don’t get a truck each year that we fall behind and have maintenance issues,” said Graham.

“You had this idea that it was better to go ahead and place an order with the stipulation that it wouldn’t be delivered until after the first [of the year] because in the past you wouldn’t get this new ambulance until fall,” explained Helton to the room.

MEDIX proposed $140,130 for a 2020 model Chevrolet with the delivery after January 1, 2020. Custom Trucks and Bodyworks offered $143,021 for a 2020 model Chevrolet with the delivery after January 1. ETR, LLC proposed $187,768 for a 2019 model Ford F-450 with the delivery after January 1.

The Commissioners approved Custom Works for remount and tabled the new ambulance bids after Graham asked for more time to review.

Waste Management decision was tabled again to give the commissioner’s more time to review Advanced Disposal Systems and CASH proposals after meeting with both organizations.

Director of Public Works Zack Ratcliff experienced an equipment emergency after losing a 16-year-old mower in the middle of mowing season and had found a used replacement mower for $43,500 with 70,000 hours on it.

Post One Commissioner Earl Johnson said, “The piece that [the used mower] is replacing, we salvage it and get rid of it. It’s got way too many hours to put any more money into it.”

Ratcliff stated that he had no plans to fix the old mower with over 100,000 hours in it already.
The emergency purchase puts the county back at 10 mowers and back on track with mowing for the spring and summer.

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 3/24 – 3/30

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

March 24, 2019 thru March 30, 2019 Responses

M1: 29
M3: 12
M4: 25
M11: 28

Gilmer: 1
Union: 1

Total: 96

Law: 384
Fire: 12
Rescue: 23

Total Emergency Calls: 497

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 4/14 – 4/20

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

April 14, 2019 thru April 20, 2019 Responses

M-1. 31
M-3. 8
M-4. 17
M-11. 27
Total. 83 EMS Calls

Other totals are not available at this time.

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report for 3/3 – 3/9

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
181 Church St.
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

March 3, 2019 thru March 9, 2019 Responses

M1: 34
M3: 12
M4: 28
M11: 21

Total: 95

Law: 319
Fire: 7
Rescue: 19

Total Emergency Calls: 433

Fannin County EMA/EMS Weekly Report 03/17 to 03/23

Fannin County EMA/EMS

Fannin County EMA/EMS
Director Robert Graham
20 Station Ridge
Blue Ridge, Ga. 30513
Fax 706-632-8003

March 17, 2019 thru March 23, 2019 Responses

M1: 33
M3: 9
M4: 29
M11: 24

Total: 95

Law: 368
Fire: 12
Rescue: 25

Total Emergency Calls: 477

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