CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County Fire-Rescue is on track to add three new stations next spring as part of an effort to serve "fringe" areas now protected by the Cleveland Fire Department, officials said.
Now, the Cleveland Fire Department contracts with the county to cover some areas outside the city. The county fire department intends to have new stations operational on Minnis Road, Dalton Pike and Georgetown Road before that agreement expires on June 30, 2013.
In a recent report to Charleston commissioners, Chief Dewey Woody said plans were under way to recruit firefighters, purchase trucks and build stations.
He said the department recently hired 16 firefighters who soon will undergo 580 hours of training in conjunction with the State Fire Academy and other professional firefighting organizations to get them ready for service as soon as possible.
"When these folks come out the other end in about 13 weeks, they will be able to sit and test for [the] Firefighter 1 [position] immediately," Woody said. "We're trying to up the ante there a little bit."
Two more batches of firefighters will be hired in November and January from an existing pool of applicants, fire officials said. The plan is that county fire-rescue department will have 68 full-time personnel and about 100 volunteers on hand to staff a total of 13 stations next spring.
The bid process for three pump trucks and three ladder trucks began recently and will end Sept. 10, officials said. The Bradley County Fire Board will review the bids on Sept. 13.
Construction of the new stations has not begun, Bradley County Engineer Sandra Knight said. The county is waiting to learn if it will qualify for hazard mitigation grants, which are awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, she said.
Knight said FEMA awards the grants to offset costs associated with construction of storm-resistant areas within structures. In this case, the fire department intends for the station living quarters to double as shelters.
The move to build the three new stations began last summer after a proposal to merge the county and city fire departments failed because of prohibitive costs, according to county officials.