Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran spoke to the Buckhead Business Association on April 12.

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran visited the Buckhead Business Association on Thursday, April 12, and said the department is still in the process of rebuilding after cuts in the fiscal  2009 budget.

That year, the department cut $4.7 million, around six percent, of its funding, which resulted in staffing cuts.

Cochran said he has hired 135 firefighters, added two fire lieutenants, two training officers, and restored the six EMS supervisor positions.

Managing personnel is one of the department’s organizational priorities, he said.

“The human resources component is important,” he said. “We can’t achieve our mission without people.”

Cochran said he wants to replace three fire stations and renovate two. He said the total cost would be $73 million.

“We’re a long way from achieving that,” he said.

He also wants to replace seven fire engines and five ladder trucks. He has proposed restoring regular physicals for firefighters, another service cut in fiscal 2009, and wants a 3.5 percent pay increase for Fire and Rescue employees.