The Bradley County Fire-Rescue was chartered in 1958 and was the primary fire and rescue service for Bradley County. In the early 1970's, the Cleveland Fire Department became an all-career agency at which time they were contracted to provide fire protection to Bradley County in 1977. The rescue service of the original Bradley County Fire-Rescue continued to provide rescue services to Bradley County and Cleveland, including vehicle extrication, water rescue, and recovery operations.
The move toward the merger of these departments began in July 2005 when the county hired its first full-time firefighters and added an eighth station in the Rescue Service Building on Inman Street.
The benefits of this merger include communication. Fire and Rescue will now be dispatched by the same communications operator and operate on the same radio frequency regardless of emergency. Better service is another benefit. Instead of two separate units responding to the same incident, a unified command will ensure a quicker and better response.
The Chief for Rescue and Special Operations for BCFR is Troy Maney. Steve Riggs and Donald Tankersley are Battalion Chiefs for the seven outlying county fire stations. These gentlemen are volunteers and donate countless hours in service to our community and I would like to thank them for their service.
With 20 years experience in law enforcement, fire and rescue, Dewey Woody is Chief of the newly merged BCFR. Woody has been Bradley County´s full-time Fire Chief for the past six years and is responsible for the county´s bomb and arson investigation.
BCFR is considered a combination paid and volunteer department. The paid staff includes Chief Woody, Administrative Assistant Paula Garner and Fire Inspector. The 12 additional paid personnel staff a fire engine in 24-hour shifts making it a four-person engine company to respond anywhere in the county at all times.
The most important resource yet to be mentioned is the some 120 volunteers that we rely heavily on to complete the daily mission of BCFR. These men and women take much time from their personal lives to train and prepare themselves for emergencies throughout our community. They also are prepared to respond 24 hours a day to emergencies such as car crashes, water emergencies, structure or brush fires, hazardous materials incidents or natural and manmade disasters.
In recent years, the department was awarded a federal grant allowing for the replacement of all air packs. The department was also able to add an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) to every first response vehicle. Additionally, thermal imaging cameras were added to the fleet of equipment.
The department is fortunate to have state-of-the-art tools, technology and training making it one of the most well-equipped and prepared agencies in East Tennessee.
-D. Gary Davis