JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – While schools are closed, and many of us are working from home, it’s business as usual at the Jackson Fire Department. A decal on the fire engine simply reads, “Always Ready.” 12 News catches up with J-F-D’s newest relief driver as we “Focus on Those Who Serve”.
Savanna Sanchez seems right at home behind the wheel of this 20 ton behemoth. A little more than a month ago, she achieved the rank of Relief Driver Operator.

Division Fire Chief Cleotha Sanders explains, “She takes over for the Lieutenant as a driver when the Lieutenant is off, and so she’s been doing a great job.”

After completing countless hours of training and earning several certifications, Sanchez was off and rolling.

Sanchez explains, “For one, it’s probably twice the size of a regular vehicle. It’s most definitely way heavier. It’s about 40 plus thousand pounds. It’s almost 10 feet in height. When your making turns and what not, you have to be extra cautious, because you can’t make the tight turns, as you can in the smaller vehicle.”

After Sanchez safely pilots the engine to a fire scene, she’s in charge of the pumps.

Sanchez says, “You have to worry about water flow and what not, making sure your people have enough water flow in the lines and making sure nothing goes wrong. You have to watch it. Every second counts in that as well.”

So far, so good.

Chief Sanders says, “The window of opportunity for her is wide open.”

Sanchez says, “My long term goals are to eventually try to be a full-time instructor at the State Fire Academy or eventually take a training chief or training officer position at the department or both.” 

Considering how far she’s come in just a year with J-F-D, that seems like a very realistic possibility.

Savanna is also working toward her Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration and Fire Investigation. She hopes to have that wrapped up in July. Her community can be thankful for Savanna Sanchez’s work ethic and professionalism. 12 News is Focused on Those Who Serve.