Preparatory work to level out the ground at the Minnis and Georgetown roads locations has been completed. At the Minnis Road location, concrete has also been poured, according to Troy Spence, interim fire chief.
“As soon as the rain goes away, they can probably actually start staging materials,” Spence said.
The interim chief has also been in discussion with Bradley County 911 to ensure the new stations will be in the system properly.
“What my wish would be, as we get a station online, is that we would phase them in,” Spence said.
He said he would be talking to Cleveland Fire Department Chief Steve Haun to work out some of the details of fire coverage during the transition.
Spence said he wanted to ensure the two departments still have a good working relationship.
“I think overall it’s about response (times) and how we want to respond to like areas that are easier for the city to respond to than the county, and areas to that are easier for the county to respond to than the city,” Spence said.
He mentioned there are structures right on the city-county line. Spence said he would like to work on proximity to a fire station to play a greater role in which department is dispatched by 911 rather than simply going by city-county lines.
“We’re always looking to make things better and safer,” Spence said.
Going by proximity to a fire station rather than jurisdiction would limit the questions a 911 operator would need to ask to know which station to alert.
Bradley County Commission Chairman Louie Alford said this is something he would also like to see happen.
“If you and chief Haun could work that out, I think it would be real good for both the city and county,” Alford said.
According to Spence, the tankers should be finished by the end of February with the additional trucks being completed by the end of March. The department was originally going to have the trucks delivered. However, Spence said picking up the trucks was better because it would be better timing and give the department ample time to ensure trucks are operating correctly before taking them.
“I’m trying to stay on top of everything to make sure we have everything ready on time,” Spence said.
Even as Bradley County Fire-Rescue expands the number of full-time, paid stations, volunteers are still needed.
Bradley County Fire board chairman Dana Burgner asked Spence at Tuesday’s meeting how volunteer recruitment was going.
Fifteen volunteers have been recruited in the past month. The department is actively recruiting new volunteers by having applications available at the volunteer stations, Aaron Hicks of BCFR said.
Hicks said many of these were former volunteers who had left but have returned.
“We need the volunteers more than ever now,” Hicks said.
Hicks said the department will be hanging advertisement banners at the stations that especially need volunteers.
Volunteers at the Valley View station are holding a workday Saturday. Starting at 10 a.m. they will be cleaning the station and be available for anyone who has questions about becoming a volunteer. Applications will be available. The volunteers will also be doing some training. For more information on becoming a volunteer, call 728-7293.
Changes are also taking place at BCFR headquarters as paid and volunteer firefighters renovate the building to make room for additional people. Spence said the project expands the living area of the station, allowing for volunteer firemen to spend the night, if needed.
“That’s going to increase an additional six beds,” Spence said.