Smyrna Fire Chief Has Mixed Feelings About Firefighter Firearms

Paige Day owns a personal firearm, but isn't sure if carrying weapons on duty is the correct course of action for fire personnel.

Smyrna Fire Chief Paige Day. Credit: Paige Day
Smyrna Fire Chief Paige Day. Credit: Paige Day
The newly-minted fire chief in the City of Smyrna sees both sides of the controversial bill that would allow firefighters in the state of Georgia to carry sidearms while performing their duties.

House Bill 807 was proposed by Republican Rep. Kevin Cooke of Carrolton on Jan. 23, and would make firefighters, "authorized to carry firearms while on duty," with the permission of their chief.

Smyrna Fire Chief Paige Day says she would have to do more research before she made an official decision, but says her personal feelings that the proposed legislation is "blurring the lines" between fire services and law enforcement.

"Personally, I've been on calls where I've been shot at," Day said. "Would I have gone guns blazing? I don't think so. I don't think that's what the fire department represents."

In a situation where there may be a danger to first responders due to people, Day says that the traditional response is to let law enforcement personnel take the lead and secure the area before allowing other services to go to work.

In addition, the chief said that there would have to be very tough criteria on the carrying and use of sidearms by fire personnel; she would not allow firefighters to carry their sidearms into an active fire situation, for example.

Day, who hails from such gun-friendly states as Arizona and Texas, said she had no issues with firearms in general and is the owner of a Glock handgun, but she feels the proposal is a "knee-jerk reaction" to the hostage situation involving Gwinnett County firefighters on April 10, 2013.

Day conceded that there was a "very real problem" in the April incident, but she felt that other options such as better situational awareness and more coordination with law enforcement in potentially dangerous situations was needed far more than allowing firefighters to pack heat of their own.

"From a personal and a professional perspective I don't think that's the answer."

Do you support House Bill 807, which would allow firefighters in Georgia to be armed while on duty? Tell us in the comments!

stephen m george jr mpa January 25, 2014 at 01:36 PM
I've got a better idea ...let's just issue the firefighters flame throwers and forget about the water ...makes about as much sense ... Oh, and as a side note ... gunpowder is explosive!


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