Category Archives: Emergency Services

Project Breathe

The Invisible Fence Brand has been committed to saving the lives of pets since their first pet fence built in 1973. Their innovations not only help keep pets happy and safe in their yards but also safe from other hazards like house fires. Although the U.S. Fire Administration doesn’t keep an official statistic, industry sources estimate 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires. Most succumb to smoke inhalation. In most states, emergency responders lack the equipment to resuscitate and save pets.

That’s why Invisible Fence created Project Breathe a pet oxygen mask donation program designed to provide oxygen mask kits to fire departments and other first responders. Each kit includes a small, medium, and large mask; fire departments are eligible to receive one kit per station.

So far, the program has saved at least 201 pets from fire and smoke inhalation from the 25,170 masks that have been donated.

Each Roane County Fire Department is scheduled to receive a kit on May 14, 2019. at the beginning of the Fire Board Meeting at 6:15 p.m. The fire station will also be hosting a demonstration in the Qualls Commission room located on the 2nd floor of the Roane County Courthouse to show the community members and media how the kits work. We look forward to sharing our success stories and experiences with Project Breathe in the future!

You can find out more about the Project Breathe at

Midtown VFD

Blair VFD

West Roane VFD

South Roane County VFD

East Roane County VFD

Roane County OES

Small Fire Department Operations Training

{Tim Suter, Director of Office of Emergency Services}

The Midtown, Rockwood, Kingston, Blair, East Roane County, Sevier County, Fire Departments and Roane County’s Office of Emergency Services completed a 2-day course designed to impart foundational tools and skills needed to coordinate training in small fire and emergency medical service organizations like our own.

Trainees left with a better understanding of:

  • Why and how the local training officers must be a catalyst for change
  • Standards of care according to OSHA and NFPA
  • Safety considerations in training
  • Marketing training internally
  • Identifying ways to justify training needs
  • Resolving training conflicts using
  • Selecting and evaluating training curriculum and materials from outside sources.
  • Effective delivery and evaluation of training

Roane County Emergency Medical Services – Dec 2018

{Tim Suter, Director of Emergency Medical Services}

Community Affirmation: Roane County emergency medical responders work long hours in every imaginable condition. The hard work they do behind the scenes can go unnoticed in the face of personal tragedy. They don’t work for the praise and certainly not the money. Our emergency medical responders chose a vocation that requires a passion for the job and compassion for the suffering. Here is one of many examples of a Roane County Emergency Medical Service provider who works passionately with compassion.

Sir: I am writing to you about one of your EMTs. He responded to our home at (redacted) on November 1st. He was really sweet and kind to my mother after she had fallen in our home. He kept her calm while she was put on the gurney to be transported to the ER at Roane Medical Center. His kindness did not stop there. While he was finishing up his paperwork he noticed me waiting to hear about Mom. He came over to give me a word about mom and to let me know that she was being taken care of by the doctor. He gave me words of encouragement. You have a fine man in Charles Dodson and I appreciate his time. He may not have rushed into a burning building but the care he showed my mom makes him a hero and his speaking to me in the ER waiting room helped me to make decisions with a clear mind. He and his teammates are real hero’s to me and I wish that you would accept my thanks for their services and convey to them my thanks. – Ruby Curtis

The New Hazmat 1 – Dec 2018

{Scott Stout – Director of Office of Emergency Services}

The county purchased a new fire truck with the CDBG Community Development Block Grant that will take over the role of Hazmat 1. The Dodge Ram HME Ahrens-Fox MiniEvo M3 is faster and more maneuverable than its larger predecessor a 1996 Ferrara (CDBG). The Dodge Ram will replace the Ferrara’s as Hazmat 1 because it is more maneuverable through most entrances and offroad destinations.

This Roane County Treasure Might Save Your Life – Oct 2018

{Tim Suter, Director of Emergency Medical Services – Written by Danielle Brown}

On the eleventh, those of us who were able, gathered at the steam plant to remember the first responders who gave their lives 17 years ago. Our flag waved high, strung between two ladder trucks, in the muggy Autumn air. The bell sang its dirge, 5-5-5, a signal for a Line of Duty Death (LODD). Each ring resonating through our respect, sorrow, memories of the day and a time when our nation was one. To my left and right, first responders heard the same bell ring but it sang a different song to them. Our firemen, police, and emergency medical personel hear the melancholy song of a comrade lost, a song that may be rung for them someday.

Roane County’s first responders risk their lives for our community but their risk goes beyond mortal injury. September was Suicide Awareness month, an uncomfortable but necessary conversation. This is a particularly insidious problem because of its ability to creep into one’s life with little trace. George Carlin captures how society has approached this delicate topic over the last century. In World War I, we called PTSD “shell shock”, in World War II, we called it “battle fatigue”, in the Korean war it was called “operational exhaustion,” and in the Vietnam War, we began to call it “post-traumatic stress disorder.” Carlin goes on to say, “The pain is completely buried under jargon.” We can give shell shock a fancy name but a syndrome by any other name can still change the course of someone’s life. PTSD is a clear and present concern for our first responders who are at a high risk.

Riding with Roane County’s finest, Mattlock Russel and Pat Murphy in Medic 1, I caught a small glimpse of ouremergency medical ’s daily life. One minute they are sitting down to grab a bite, but a crackly voice calls over the PA. Zaxby’s is forgotten on the table and our emergency medical responders are off to a family in crisis, performing lifesaving procedures in a moving vehicle, holding the life of another human being in their hands, remaining calm in the face of frantic loved ones, gathering vital information and communicating effectively with other medical professionals. Then when the siren is off and the doctors have taken over, the adrenaline is still fresh and it’s time to see if the cold meal left on the table is still edible. This emotional rollercoaster runs on a 24-hour-on, 48- hours-off schedule and the average emergency medical responder works multiple jobs. The Doctors have the pay and the prestige but the child that won’t let Medic 1 leave without a hug, is the one who really sees our invisible heroes.

How does an emergency medical responder wind down, relax, and cope with the daily unpredictability and trauma? Everyone has their own mechanisms but Pat Murphy and her two sons, Michael Murphy a Roane County Deputy Sheriff, and Keith Murphy a Loudon County critical care paramedic cope with a servant’s heart for their first responder family. Pat works in Priority Ambulance in Loudon and Knoxville when she is not on shift here in Roane County. While she admits she works her second and third job to keep busy, if pressed she will tell you that she uses a large part of her surplus income, in combination with her sons to throw one epic first responders party every year. “The best cure for weariness is the challenge of helping someone who is even more tired. One of the great ironies of life is this: He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served. -Gordon B. Hinckley”

The week before the big day, Pat and her sons take off work to prepare; wrapping up to 150 hot dogs in bacon, making Halloween treats for the kids, building a bonfire that puts Mount Guyot to shame, and setting up the bump and jump. For the last 10 years, Pat and her family have covered the bill for this party, save for last year. The freezer containing hundreds of dollars worth of party food broke down but that didn’t stop the Murphy’s. They went right out and bought a second round of party food; the show must go on. Thankfully, word got out and Pat’s EMS family donated relief funds. Pat has already begun preparations for this year’s first responders family gathering.

Photographer Unknown

Volunteer Firefighter Fire Truck Simulator Training – Oct 2018

{Scott Stout – Director of Office of Emergency Services Special Thanks to Brad Goss}

The Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy visited Roane County with their Emergency Response Driver Training Simulator (ERDTS). Their purpose is to create a real-world experience that enables our volunteer firefighters to hone their skills within a variety of challenging situations and without the logistical ramifications of using public roads. Drivers practice a wide range of tasks, including basic vehicle operations to scenario-based tactical training. Charlie Armstrong, the fire instructor on duty, explained that traditional driver safety courses emphasize skills, law, and knowledge, but this simulator empowers drivers to review their attitudes and find new ways to break old habits.

Shannon Crox & Macayla Harmon Waiting Their Turn in the Sim

Shannon Crox & Keith Hephner – A father and daughter who train together to make a difference in their community.

Scott Stout,  Director of Office of Emergency Services, Brad Goss

Volunteer Firefighters Train Over 64 Hours One Month – Sept 2018

{Scott Stout – Director of Office of Emergency Services—Special Thanks to Brad Goss}

Volunteer firefighters undergo hundreds of training hours necessary for firefighting safety and efficacy. The state of Tennessee requires a 16-hour introductory class, followed by 64 hours of basic firefighter training, and another 16 hours of “live burn” training. After 96 hours of training, a volunteer firefighter is certified as ready to enter the hot zone. The cost of mistakes in firefighting is high, for that reason the training never ends. Once completing initial training, every firefighter participates in a mandatory minimum of 20 training hours each calendar year.

In August, the Roane County Volunteer Firefighters underwent 64 hours of training. On Saturday the 18th, Chief David Maupin, and Sam Wolf, the former Fire Chief of South Roane County, lead a water supply training; using a tanker to supply water and a pumper engine to spray water. Though both tankers and pumpers are fitted with a pump and a tank, the tanker’s tank is necessarily larger, and the pumpers pump is more powerful. The two types of fire trucks are designed to work in tandem. The pumper utilizes its powerful pump to disperse water, while the tankers gather much-needed water and gofers it back the pumper. Tankers can use water from a fire hydrant, swimming pool or any accessible nearby body of water. Wolf led the trainees in constructing a drop tank for the tanker to fill. A drop tank is a large plastic mobile pool that can hold 2,000 gallons of water. The trainees practiced using the tanker to fill the drop tank then utilizing the pumper engine to suction water from the drop tank and finally disperse the water.

Please join us in extending our appreciation to the Roane County Volunteer Firefighters. Most recently, thank you for giving freely of your Saturday morning, braving the weather, and giving our county peace of mind.

Scott & Garrett Guttner – A father raising his son to understand the value of community service.

Dana Mitchell, Macayla Harmon, and Unknown

Mike Hooks Rep to TN Emergency Communications Board – Sept 2018

{Summarized from Roane County News}

Mike Hooks, Roane County E-911 Director, and East Tennessee’s District Representative to Tennessee Emergency Communications Board: Gov. Bill Haslam appointed Mike Hooks to another term on the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board as the District representative for East Tennessee. The mission of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board is to ensure effective access to 911 service. Hooks said. “I can’t thank Gov. Haslam enough for putting that trust in me.”

Hooks also thanked Deputy Governor Jim Henry, State Sen. Ken Yager and State Representatives, Kent Calfee and Ron Travis. “They worked on getting me reappointed to the position.” Hooks has been director of Roane County E-911 since 2000, and his new term runs through June 30, 2021. When accepting the nomination, Hooks shared, “I have about 38 years of public safety work and experience… I feel like I can bring a lot to the state board and help them direct the next generation of 911.” For example, one of the new innovations Hooks and the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board are working towards is implementing a Text-to-911 for emergency situations, for cases when talking might not be possible.

Join us in expressing our appreciation for Mike Hook’s 38 years of service and three cheers to get him through 40!

Jaws of Life = Priceless – Nov 2019

{Scott Stout – Director of Office of Emergency Services Special Thanks to Chuck Hiatt, Captain of Operations & Training Officer}

Cutter = $4600, Spreader = $4200 Ram = $4600, Jaws of Life = Priceless

First responders must train and receive various certifications to qualify for the job, but the learning never ends. In any vocation, there are those who show up when scheduled, check the necessary boxes, then wait for the clock to mark the end of the day. Conversely, there are those determined souls who are not satisfied to watch time pass, who have their craft in mind in the shower, when falling asleep (If they sleep), or out on the water. The ones who ask, “What can we learn? How can we do this better, faster next time?” are the proactive team members every employer hopes for. When the Roane County Firefighters experience periods of time between emergencies and they are not recovering from assisting the Sheriff’s secure the safety of a crime scene overnight or working alongside our volunteer firefighters to put out the last house fire out on New Hope Road, you can find them using that time proactively honing their skills. Last Thursday, October the 4th, Mike’s Auto body donated a white minivan to the county to learn how to use familiar tools for new techniques.

The Jaws of Life, so named for their ability to keep people from the jaws of death, are a set of hydraulic powered tools that fall into three categories, spreaders, cutters, and rams. AVG COST $4600 The spreaders hydraulic powered arms come to a narrow tip that can be inserted into small gaps between metal panels and expand holes or pry doors from their hinges. Conversely, the spreader can be used to compress. AVG COST $4200 The cutter is a hydraulic pair of shears powerful enough to cut through your vehicle. (AVG COST $1000 replacement blades) AVG COST $4600 Extension rams are expanding cylinders that are placed in strategic points in the structure to open up space with hydraulic power.

This may seem simple enough before you start to think a little deeper about the problem. Does this part need to be pried apart before pinching another area? Do we need to pry something apart before cutting it open? Then consider the varying makes and models of cars each year, let alone over the last century. Each decade’s advancements in alloys, structural, and safety standards bring new levels of safety and new challenges for those who are there for us when things have gone terribly wrong. In a time when the growing pains and benefits of technology dance the line between progress and egress an agent of our change, Steve Jobs, reminds us that, “Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” As taxpayers we employ a team of four firefighters who go beyond what is officially required; We pay for the tools they need to pry us from harm and in turn, they train to wield them better today than yesterday.

Protecting Tennesseans From Emergencies and Disasters – Feb 2018

{Laura Conner, District Director Roane and Morgan County Health Departments}

East Regional Health Office Recognized for Protecting Tennesseans From Emergencies and Disasters: The Tennessee Department of Health East Regional Health Office (TDH), tasked with improving the health and prosperity of people in East Tennessee, has been busy. One in five East Tennesseans utilizes TDH services, while we are all indirectly affected by their emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of healthcare facilities, and inspection of food service establishments. In January TDH East Regional Health Office was recognized by the National Association of County and City Health Officials for its ability to plan for, respond and to recover from public health emergencies. Our East Regional Health Office demonstrated these capabilities by meeting comprehensive preparedness benchmarks required by Project Public Health Ready, a unique partnership between National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are proud to have been recognized by Project Public Health Ready for our high level of preparedness for emergencies,” said East Regional Health Director Janet Ridley. “This honor reflects tremendous effort, dedication, creativity, and cooperation by our entire team across our region. We will continue to improve our ability to quickly and effectively respond to any public health crises in our communities.”