If you have been by the Ace Hardware on Taft Highway lately, you have probably noticed quite bit of progress regarding the new building’s construction. There are all manner of crews running around the property, and the building is taking shape rapidly. The architect and the county were able to completely build the entire new station without disturbing the old station, and we are operating at full capacity from our existing Station One during construction.
Once construction is completed and we have been cleared to occupy the building, then we will move everything over to the new building and the county will demolish our original structure. For those of us who have been around for many years at WRES, this will be a bittersweet moment. While we are very excited about the new station, we have spent so much time there that it will be sad to see it go.
Training is part of our ongoing commitment to the community and also to ourselves. Since what we do is inherently risky and can be very dangerous, it is imperative that we keep ourselves safe, yet, at the same time, be able to mitigate any disaster. With this in mind, I wanted to share details of our upcoming training.
In addition to the weekly drill we hold ourselves, WRES participates in outside training activities with other agencies and associations. Search and Rescue training will soon be held in Dunlap, which will be part operational and part hands-on. Search and Rescue involves knowing how to enter a structure that is on fire and safely look for any person who may still be inside before trying to put out the fire. Life comes first, so knowing that someone may still be inside and unable to get out becomes a priority.
There is always a need for medical training and refresher courses. Emergency medical personnel in Tennessee, regardless of level, have to submit update-training hours to maintain certification by the state. Lone Oak will offer a 16-hour class in June over a weekend for medical training. Yes, as volunteers, we give up some of our weekends to attend training to keep ourselves ready.
There will also be various rope rescue trainings around the area, and WRES volunteers will participate in recertification for operational level ropes rescue, as well as advanced technical training and confined spaces rescue training at the end of June. There is actually a lot to know about ropes rescue, and it can be a highly skilled and specialized activity. Also in June, we will send a few of our members to Gatlinburg to take some advanced statewide fire and rescue classes.
Not only do your volunteer members use their personal time to attend training, but in many cases, WRES must pay for this training. We gladly do this to keep ourselves at the ready and up to date on the best practices and current techniques learned from experience at other departments. We are able to prepare ourselves because of the annual generosity of the people that we serve, and for that we are always grateful.
If you live out in the Sawyer Road section of the mountain, you may have seen more activity lately at Station Two. As the growth and new construction continues in that area, dedicated WRES staff members use Station Two as a primary location for calls. We have also dedicated equipment and certain trucks and apparatus for this Station, in order to have a more rapid response to these growing areas that surround Station Two. If you ever see us at Station Two and are curious about our operation there, feel free to stop by and say hello; we will be glad to show you around.
As always, if you have questions or comments, or would like to become a member of WRES, we encourage you to contact us at any time. Stop by Station One on Taft Highway next to Ace Hardware any Thursday night at 7 p.m., when we conduct our weekly training, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the station at (423) 886-5974 and leave us a message. However, if you have an emergency, or even think you may need some assistance, always call 911 for immediate assistance.