Rescue Squad ends 24/7 ‘Blitz Week’
By Wes Wade | (email@example.com)
They’ve dubbed it “Blitz Week” and it ends tonight at midnight — the first time in several years the Blount County Rescue Squad (BCRS) has had personnel staffed and ready to go 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The squad has continued to grow in membership and special training in recent years and has acquired a stellar reputation not just in Blount County, but in surrounding areas as the BCRS and multiple agencies in surrounding counties have started working hand-in-hand to assist their communities in the best and most efficient way possible.
Saturday night the squad also had something else to celebrate — the group responded to 112 calls during the entire month of January, breaking their previous record of 69 calls, which was set in December, said BCRS Chief Keith Sartin. Chief Sartin had promised the squad a special steak dinner if they were able to beat that previous record.
And a steak dinner they got this Saturday evening, complete with salad, rolls, chips and dips and a baked potato the size of a football for every plate. Also in attendance were several area emergency personnel with Rural/Metro Ambulance Service and fire personnel from surrounding areas, such as Oak Ridge Deputy Fire Chief David Harrington and Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tom Greene.
A total of about 55 filled the squad’s engine room and dined, polishing off their mammoth meals with a slice of celebratory vanilla cake.
Chief Sartin said he’s extremely proud of the squad and how far they’ve come in such a short time.
“To me it’s a blessing,” Sartin said. “To see us go from running a few calls to the milestone of the 112 calls (this month.) To me it’s been an outstanding effort of the crews, the time they take away from their families to give their volunteer time.”
Sartin also added that the his squad has to take away time from their full time, paying jobs and families to provide an invaluable service to the community. In turn, he said he is incredibly grateful to the families of each squad member for supporting each member in their endeavor as BCRS personnel.
“I mean the families have to stand behind the members to make the members what they are,” Sartin said. “If it wasn’t for the families standing behind the members, I don’t think we would be the squad we are now.”
BCRS public information officer Laura Osgood said the goal is for the group to eventually become 24/7 squad full time. She said this past blitz week may just prove to be a turning point in that endeavor.
“Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come,” Osgood said. “That we will continue to grow.”