The retirement of Warren County’s fire chief, emergency management and EMS director after 19 years of service propelled a member of the staff to the three-hat position.
Crystal Duckett began her tenure as the EMS director, fire chief and assisting in the Emergency Management Area of Warren County on Oct. 1 after Tommy Wolfe retired from the positions in September.
Duckett has been in emergency medical service for 17 years and in the fire service for six years. She came to Warren County from McCormick County, South Carolina, five years ago to work as a firefighter and paramedic.
“I am picking up the lead in the department but the overall mission is to take care of the citizens in the county and the people traveling through,” she said.
Duckett leads a fire and EMS department of 40 people. “My mission is to keep things running smoothly and keep doing what we do. We have a great team of firefighters, paramedics and EMTs who perform patient care and we take care of everyone as best as we can,” she said.
The offices are inside the Warren County Public Safety Building at 169 GA-80 in Warrenton.
The director has been a member of the emergency medical service for 17 years and the fire service for six. She said emergency management would be challenging because it is out of her comfort zone.
“I have only done the minimum in EMA compared to the other positions,” Duckett said. “The EMA will definitely be the most challenging,” she said.
Duckett said she looks forward to the learning process in the three positions she now holds. “The whole job is a challenge that I enjoy and I am looking forward to keep moving forward.”
She hopes to increase the number of volunteer firefighters in the department. “We are short on volunteers and our biggest challenge is getting more volunteers into the fire department to grow the fire department to what would be better suited for Warren County,” Duckett said.
While she has taken on a more administrative and behind the scenes role, Duckett plans to continue to go out on fire and EMS calls and assist where she is needed.
“I have a passion for helping people and that is why I am in EMS,” she said. “My passion was to help people and that is what has kept me in EMS for 17 years.”
Duckett said colleagues and the community have been accepting and supportive of her promotion and she has not received any negativity for being a woman in the position. “I have seen more of a shock factor to see a woman in the position,” she said.
Duckett said the department, under her direction, would continue as it has been. “Nothing will change. The department will still be doing the same thing.”