Bradley Co. fire and rescue service getting bigger and better - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley Co. fire and rescue service getting bigger and better

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The month of July kicked off a whole new training program with a new staff and fire houses to go along with it.

Thanks to a grant that was approved; these new fire stations were built in Bradley County.

These new changes are quit impressive. The fire and rescue service in Bradley County is getting bigger, and leaders say, much better.

In 2012, the county was notified it will have to serve areas the Cleveland Fire Department used to protect.

That came with 45 additional full time trained firefighters. A 1.3 million dollar FEMA grant was approved and paid for three storm shelter safe rooms that can withstand an EF-4 tornado like the one that hit in 2011.

New fire stations were built, complete with state of the art equipment.

"They added three stations. One on Minus Road, one on Dalton Pike road and one on Georgetown Road," said Jerry Johnson, Bradley County EMA.

Bradley County now has five full time paid fire stations plus eight surrounding volunteer stations.

The added staff and three new fire engines cover the 24 hour around the clock shifts in areas within the city limits they didn't cover before July 1.

"We did not respond to fires in the fringe areas but we do now," said Jeff Stewart, Bradley County Fire and Rescue.

The new hires also have to complete 1400 hours of fire academy training, not including the 2 hours a day station 11, 12 and 13 undergo with their new full time trainer that was hired this month.

"Most of the area was covered by volunteers, except for the two paid stations. Now we have fire departments to cover the whole area," said Johnson.

Even though more staff has been added - the local EMA director says they will continue to work with the volunteer fire fighters that have helped tremendously over the years.

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