But have any of us ever taken the time to consider what multiple levels of professional personnel and equipment it takes to make sure a person is at the other end of that phone call, and that help is on the way as soon as possible?
Not one, not two, but in most cases three backup communication devices are in place at our local 911 Call Center. The systems in place are not just always being monitored, but are also being evaluated to see where improvement is needed, on a daily basis. While the equipment is extremely important, it is always best to remember the best equipment in the world becomes useless without quality trained and professional employees to operate that equipment.
Today, I would like to highlight just one aspect of that professional personnel. Recently, another one of our own has had his achievements honored by being named the best in the entire state of Tennessee.
Prior to our Bradley County EMS, ambulance calls were answered by funeral home hearses. Many people may remember pictures, film and news reels of this practice in Texas as well when President Kennedy was shot.
The Tennessee Department of Health EMS Division granted Bradley County the first Class A rating in Southeast Tennessee. Bradley County’s EMS mission is to provide emergency medical services to all Bradley County residents.
EMS Director Danny Lawson presently oversees the day-to-day operations under the guidance of the Ambulance Committee and the county mayor. From their humble beginnings starting at midnight on Aug. 31, 1972, at one location with no calls on that first shift, up to today, has been a valiant story of service and dependability.
Year one operating expense was $234,550 with a total of 1,800 calls for service. Since that time, Bradley County, Cleveland and Charleston have grown considerably and our Bradley County EMS has continued to provide excellent service. Now responding from five locations, last year’s call volume was 22,237 with an average response time of only six minutes. To provide this level of service now requires 54 full-time and 42 part-time professional staff. Seventeen of these dedicated, professional men and women have more than 20 years of service to this community team.
Since 1980, James Bradford has served his community and fellow citizens with respect, compassion and clinical skill as a part of this elite team. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Ambulance Association’s Jimmy Studdard EMT Award that is also known as the “EMT of the Year.”
This recent accomplishment is one of honor from ambulance service representatives from across the state of Tennessee. James currently serves as a Bradley County EMS supervisor.
As reported from the Bradley County EMS, James was influenced — when he was just a child — in a positive way when another Bradley County EMT took care of one of his family members. From that time, he wanted to help others in the same way.
He has accomplished that goal many times over by serving as a positive influence to those he has an opportunity to meet on a daily basis. I want to congratulate James on this most recent recognition and award, and to also say “thank you” to the many professionals who work alongside him each day to keep us all safe and healthy.
May today find you safe and healthy as well, but if not and you need the professionals at work throughout “911,” please know that whoever answers the phone, dispatches the appropriate response or arrives at your doorstep or accident scene ... they are the best.
The Bradley County EMS, and emergency responders like James Bradford, are yet another reason I like to say Bradley County truly is Tennessee at its Best.