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Friday, February 08, 2019

Fire protection
Members of the Cocke County Public Safety Committee spent some time Thursday evening exploring ways to beef up fire protection in the county while at the same time cutting costs. Bob Chiaradio of the Cosby Volunteer Fire Department said he has recently obtained $250,000 in grants for the agency. He said grants are available for both volunteer and professional departments. The Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA) provides up to 95 percent of the cost of equipment but the local agency provides a five percent match. That funding is not available for salaries. Chiaradio said some grants are available for salaries of additional employees, but after three years the salary supplement would end. He argued that the county fire and sheriff's departments could benefit from a professional grant writer. Chair of the committee, Commissioner Norman Smith said be agrees that the county could benefit from a grant writer. Other grants are available from philanthropic organizations as well. Cocke County Fire Chief Keith Large said his agency has applied for a number of grants but it has not been successful. The committee was told the last grant received was in the early 2000's. Most of the local volunteer fire departments have a difficult time recruiting enough firefighters because of the time involved in training, on-going education and the time of active duty. In addition it costs an average of $3,000 to outfit a firefighter. Fire insurance costs in a community are based on the proximity to a fire station as well as the agency's ISO rating. Chief Walt Cross of the Grassy Fork Volunteer Fire Department said his department recently saw it's rating improve from a 9 to a current 5. And the Del Rio Volunteer Fire Department recently saw it's rating improve from 9 to a current 6, after hydrants were installed. The better rating he said is the result of an addition of five fire hydrants as well as the addition of a second station in Hartford. "Now businesses are able to get fire insurance," Cross said, "because the location of the hydrants primarily are benefiting businesses." But he said approved creeks also can serve to lower an agency's rating. Newport Utilities reportedly charges about $1,000 to install a hydrant. He argued the best move in improving fire protection in the community, is to boost the volunteer fire departments. And Cross suggested that the county put together a volunteer fire department training and recruitment program. Chair Smith called on the firefighters from across the community to create a "wish list" of needs. Commissioner Forrest Clevenger who has been pushing for a re-vamped fire protection system said he believes the community will benefit in the near future, by efforts by Governor Bill Lee to help rural areas. Cocke County, which is labeled a distressed community, should receive a top priority, Clevenger said.

Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

  • House approves voucher bill
  • Newport City Council special meeting
  • Newport Utilities
  • Drug take-back

    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

  • Six injured in crash
  • Cocke Finance Committee
  • Cocke County grand jury
  • Legislative action

    Monday, April 22, 2019

  • Cocke County flooding
  • Tennessee jobs
  • NFL draft coming to Nashville
  • Earth Day
  • Sturgein release

    Saturday, April 20, 2019

  • Turner arrest
  • Southerland report
  • Unemployment in Tennessee
  • Mueller report

    Friday, April 19, 2019

  • TDOT projects
  • Cocke County Partnership
  • Voucher plan may be stalled

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