Interim Bradley County Fire-Rescue Chief Troy Spence is ‘wrapping’ up last minute details including correct GIS mapping and final touches before the stations go into full service.
A ribbon cutting is planned for Friday at 10 a.m., at Hopewell Fire Station No. 13.
An open house is planned afterward and on Saturday.
“We want the communities which have these new fire stations which have been built with safe rooms, to come visit during the open house weekend,” said Spence.
According to Spence, the Hopewell, Park View and Waterville stations have safe rooms built in for the community’s residents in case of weather emergency.
The other stations are also on the open house schedule, including Station No. 8 at Inman Street (Main Station) and the Tasso location.
The paid and volunteer fire department will assume responsibility of county fire protection outside the city limits including what was, after July 1, the so-called “fringe” area covered by the Cleveland Fire Department.
The three new fire stations have the safe rooms, which are built to withstand 200 mph winds and are in accordance with FEMA guidelines.
According to Spence, several hundred people can be housed in each community safe room during weather emergencies.
Twisters of April 2011 and March 2012 prompted the Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency to seek ways to improve community safety. Safe rooms were one answer along with improved communications and notification of impending weather events.
Spence is the director of CBCEMA and recently stepped in as interim fire chief at BCFR.
“The process of staffing and equipping the new fire stations began several months ago and is almost complete,” according to Dan Howell of the Bradley County Mayor’s Office. “In July of 2012 Bradley County had 26 paid firefighters. Fifteen were hired in March and 14 finished their fire academy training and graduated on Sunday, April 14. This class brings the total number of full-time firefighters to 67 and completes the number needed to staff the BCFR expansion.
“The new firefighters have undergone a rigorous hiring process. Each one must complete a written test, physical agility test, psychological test, drug screening, panel interviews and then complete 460 hours of training in Firefighter School.
“An additional two weeks of classes are required for fire truck drivers. The full-time, paid firefighters are backed up by 74 volunteers who must complete the same training as the full-time staff. These volunteers play a vital role in the overall fire protection in Bradley County,” Howell said.
For additional information regarding the open house or ribbon-cutting events, contact BCFR at 728-7293.