Bradley County Fire and Rescue

Jul 08 - admin

The Bradley County Fire and Rescue Department has experienced a great deal of progress since 2004.  This has been accomplished with the help of a supportive County Commission and Fire Board.  Chief Dewey Woody and the entire BCFR staff have also been instrumental in these accomplishments. 

In 2004 the County Commission was interested in developing a long range plan for the Fire Department. The Commission requested that the County Technical Advisory Service ( CTAS) conduct an evaluation of fire protection in Bradley County.  This plan has been the foundation for steps that Bradley County has taken since then to improve fire protection. 

The CTAS Evaluation recommended three additional fire stations to be added to the seven that were in place at the time.  One of these stations was established in July of 2005 in the Rescue Service Building on Inman Street.  At this time the county hired twelve full-time firefighters.

Land on Tasso Lane was purchased in January of this year for the second recommended fire station.  Construction on the new station should begin this fall.  An additional nine firefighters will be hired and trained to staff the Tasso Station and necessary equipment will be purchased.  Three staff will be transferred from the Inman Street Station to fully staff this station.  It is anticipated that this new station will be in full operation in the spring of 2009.

There are currently fifteen full-time firefighters.  Three firefighters were hired last spring in order to have enough trained personnel to staff the Tasso Station.  These fifteen paid personnel staff a fire engine in 24-hour shifts. A five person engine company responds along with volunteers anywhere, outside the fringe area, at all times. 

There are also approximately 100 volunteers that we rely heavily on to complete the daily mission of BCFR.  In 2005 a Volunteer Firefighter Incentive Pay Program was implemented to offset the expenses volunteers incur to fulfill their duties.  This program was also recommended in the CTAS Evaluation. 

In August of 2006 the Fire Department and Rescue Service merged as recommended in the CTAS report.  This merger increased available personnel for fire protection as well as the availability of specially trained personnel that will enhance rapid intervention response.  In 2007 the Charleston Fire Department merged with BCFR which also increased volunteer staffing and equipment.

A major aspect of fire protection is the availability of water.  The 2007-08 budget was the first for Bradley County to fund additional fire hydrants on existing waterlines in strategic locations.  Additional funding was allocated in the 2008-09 budget to continue this project.  The utilities assist in this effort by installing hydrants on new waterline extensions. 

Bradley County has a contract with the city of Cleveland Fire Department to cover the “urban fringe” area.  The urban fringe encompasses any structure that is within five road miles of a Cleveland Fire Station.  The Bradley County Fire Department covers the remaining parts of the county or the “rural” areas.  The current contract with the city runs through June 30, 2010.

The deadline for Bradley County to make a decision on whether to continue this contract is June 30, 2009, so I am sure you will hear a lot of discussion in the coming months on this topic.  Please keep in mind during these discussions that I am interested in providing the highest level of fire protection at the lowest cost for Bradley County citizens.  This will be my primary motivation during any discussions or negotiations with the City of Cleveland. 

The firefighters of the Bradley County Fire and Rescue Department, along with the Cleveland Fire Department, provide an invaluable service to our citizens and I am thankful for their commitment and dedication to our community.
Filed Under: 2008

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