Squad vs Rural Metro

The discussion of emergency services provided by the Loudon County Rescue Squad vs Knox County Rural Metro must be addressed and the facts made clear. First the technical issues. 

For many years Rural Metro has been selling fire service subscriptions in the north end of Loudon County. Recently they began to send notice to their subscribers that their subscriptions will not be renewed at the end of the term. Rural Metro claims that a law passed in 2003 makes it illegal to sell subscriptions in Loudon County without the consent of the Loudon County commission. Metro has advised their customers that they should contact their commissioners if they want to continue to receive Rural Metro Service. Some citizens have contacted their commissioners requesting that Rural Metro be allowed to continue to operate in Loudon County. Commissioners seemed to be fine with Rural Metro continuing to operate within the county in cooperation with the Loudon County Rescue Squad. Problem is, that's not what Rural Metro wants. According to the Rural Metro representative who addressed commissioners at Monday's meeting, they want "a line in the sand." Metro is no longer satisfied just to be allowed to operate within the county. They want commissioners to give them exclusive rights to service certain areas in Loudon County within five miles of the Knox County line.

At the meeting several residents from the north end of the county who are subscribers of Rural Metro addressed the commission concerned at the prospect of losing Rural Metro as their fire service provider and seemed to have an extreme misconception of the Loudon County Rescue Squad and their abilities. Let's compare.

The closest Rural Metro fire station is located on Watt Road in Knox County. If those who subscribe to Rural Metro have a fire emergence, someone must call Rural Metro direct to inform them of their fire emergency. If they call 911 the Loudon County Rescue Squad will be dispatched not Rural Metro. 911 dispatch has no way of knowing who subscribes to Rural Metro. If by chance a subscriber did have the time or where with all to call Rural Metro, a pumper truck will be dispatched from the Watt Road station. If the fire emergency happens to be in an area with no fire hydrants, which would be the case in most areas, all the Rural Metro firemen could do is help you watch your house burn. Essentially, your annual subscription of hundreds of dollars has paid for two men and a truck. I don't mean that to be negative in any way toward the Rural Metro firemen. I'm sure they are highly trained and highly capable people. But without the proper equipment there would be very little they could do.

On the other hand, the Loudon County Rescue Squad has 45 volunteers, over half are certified fire fighters. When an emergence call goes out from the 911 dispatch center, you can rest assured that in a matter of minutes your property will have more trained and equipped emergency personal on scene than Rural Metro could shake a stick at. In addition the squad responds to fires not only with pumper trucks but also tanker trucks. They bring the water with them.

The Loudon County Rescue Squad is staffed by all volunteers. They cover the largest geographic area of any fire department in the county covering all the area north of the Tennessee River outside the city limits of Lenoir City and south of the river outside the Loudon City limits and the boundaries of Tellico Village. There are four strategically located stations. They not only respond to fires, they also respond to vehicle accidents and are fully equipped and trained for extractions. They respond to water rescues, hazmat situations, smoke investigations, odor investigations, fire alarms, lift assists street clean ups and many other public assist situations.

Apparently, there are some who do not fully understand or appreciate the abilities and qualities of the Loudon County Volunteer Rescue Squad. An organization of highly trained, highly motivated individuals who are your neighbors, friends and family. Who will turn out in a moments notice to assist those in need and who have the training and equipment to get the job done. And here's the cherry, it's cost you nothing.

I know who I want coming to my emergency, how bout you.