Ratcliff named manager for safe rooms
by By JOYANNA LOVE Banner Staff Writer
Sep 25, 2013 | 807 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Bradley County Fire-Rescue plans are moving forward to use support staff volunteers to help manage safe rooms.

Volunteer April Ratcliff has been appointed by fire chief Troy Maney to serve as safe room manager.

The safe rooms in the Waterville, Hopewell and Minnis Road stations will be open to the public if shelter is needed from a natural disaster. Ratcliff would coordinate the opening and manning of these facilities.

“She does have a backup and an assistant for each location,” Maney said.

Ratcliff was introduced to the fire board Tuesday during an unofficial meeting because a quorum was not present.

“It’s a busy month for us,” Maney said.

The department has been putting finishing touches on items needed for ISO rating.

Maney said the rating visit will not happen on Oct. 1 as originally hoped. An exact date is being scheduled with the new inspector assigned to the department.

Maney said the department was ready for the ISO audit. Many insurance companies use ISO ratings to determine cost.

BCFR continues to train firefighters at a number of levels. Maney said the department would be doing testing Friday at the training facility. The fire chief said the BCFR had saved $12,000 by having its own training facility, rather than sending rookies to the state facility. Five firemen from other stations also came to the BCFR for training.

Firefighters are also participating in fire prevention presentations in all of the Bradley County Schools.

Board members asked about the switch to covering fringe areas after the end of the fire contract with the city.

Maney said the transition had been smooth.

New policies and reminders of old ones are being given to the three battalions of paid staff. In response to concerns about firefighters leaving the station to eat, Maney has put a policy in place that the firefighters can leave once for food, either to buy groceries or eat out.

He has also requested not all of them go and they use a smaller truck.

Elkins said some have expressed concern at seeing a fire truck from a station in their community downtown while firemen ate. Firemen are required to stay in their district when leaving the station to eat or buy food. Refrigerators are provided at each of the paid stations.

Volunteers continue to play a vital role for BCFR. There are currently 110 volunteers on the roster.

Maney said he made a point to connect with the volunteers when he came in as chief to express the important role they play.