BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (April 24) — Dresden Fire Department is one of three volunteer fire departments in Senate District 24 to receive funding through the Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program.
State Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) stated he is pleased that over $93,000 in grants is going to Senate District 24 for volunteer fire departments under the new program he co-sponsored in the General Assembly last year to help Tennessee’s volunteer fire departments purchase equipment. These grants also provide essential funds to help fire departments meet local matching requirements for federal grants for this purpose.
Those volunteer fire departments receiving grants in Senate District 24 are: the Dresden Fire Department for $23,887; the City of Dyer Fire Department for $23,466; and the Obion Fire Department for $46,312.
Dresden Fire Chief Paul Hutcherson said, “The grant funding will be used primarily for turnout gear for structural firefighting.”
He stated Dresden Fire Department’s budget has money budgeted into it every year.
“Exposure to carcinogens is high in the fire service, and having a good second set is preferable since it will allow us to clean our turnout gear more frequently than we could before.
Approximately six months ago, Deputy Chief Kory Green wrote and submitted the application that resulted in Dresden Fire Department being awarded the grant funding.
Chief Hutcherson said, “Our greatest equipment need in the future will be a new fire engine.”
Dresden Fire Department is staffed by approximately 26 firefighting personnel, counting the fire chief.
A review of firefighters’ level of training, as well as an inspection of Dresden Fire Department’s equipment, facilities and water system capabilities (water supply and pressure), were completed recently and the results should be known within the next month or so.
Dresden Mayor Jeff Washburn joins with Chief Hutcherson and other city officials in anticipating the City of Dresden’s ISO rating will improve from a six to a five or four, following the evaluation. If so, it would most likely result in lower insurance premiums for city homeowners and businesses. The highest (worst) ISO rating on a scale from one to 10 is a 10.
“Our call volume has been a little less,” Chief Hutcherson said. “We’ve had some highly serious wrecks with injuries, as well as structure and brush fires, and helicopter lately.”
“I’m consistently impressed with our personnel. They are excited about public service and they’ve certainly shown that throughout the COVID-19 emergency. They never miss a beat when it comes to service, and I’m proud of them as I always am.”
Firefighters wear cloth face masks like those worn by the general public when not fighting structure fires. This includes providing lift assists, working alongside EMS personnel, automobile extractions (removing motorists entrapped in vehicles) and serving as first responders.
“Our volunteer firefighters are absolutely essential to the health and safety of our communities and it is important we ensure they have the resources necessary to stay safe,” said Stevens. “These grants will help accomplish that.”
“I appreciate all our firefighters and first responders. Their daily commitment to saving lives is selfless and admirable. I will continue fighting to bring more funding to their work,” he added.
The majority of Tennessee’s firefighters are volunteers. The 22,065 active firefighters that have been reported to the State Fire Marshal’s Office consist of 14,218 (64.4 percent) volunteers and 7,847 (35.6 percent) career firefighters.
BY DAVID FISHER