Division Wins Award of Excellence

Tuesday, 09 November 2010

From The Seymour Herald

The Seymour Volunteer Fire Department Support Services Division is the winner of the 2010 Fire Corps Award of Excellence.

Sponsored by the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and Fire Protection Publications, the Award of Excellence annually honors a Fire Corps program whose remarkable achievements in the fire and emergency services and the community exemplify outstanding performance.

The award was presented to members of the Seymour Support Services Division on Monday during the Fire Corps National Advisory Committee Meeting in Greenbelt, MD.

“The Seymour Support Services Division is an exemplary Fire Corps program that has truly made a positive impact on their department and community,” said Fire Corps Director Sarah Lee. “This program embodies Fire Corps’ mission and demonstrates how citizen volunteers can be active in their fire department and the emergency services.”

The Seymour Support Services Division began in April 2007 thanks to the support of Fire Chief R. Chuck Godfrey, the board of directors, department membership, and the commitment of three civilian volunteers. When the program began, the volunteers had little more than a canopy, a few chairs, two coolers for bottled water, and the desire to lend a hand to provide rehab services.

Since then, the Support Services Division has thrived.

Today, the Division has 12 members and even has its own vehicle that responds to all of the department’s structure fires and vehicle accidents involving entrapment.

Seymour Support Services Division Coordinator and Tennessee Fire Corps State Advocate Dave Caulfield has watched the program grow and prosper over the years.

“Fire Corps is a valuable opportunity for civilian volunteers to effectively and efficiently give back to their respective communities by providing emergency services with resources that might otherwise not have been available,” said Caulfield. “The dedication of our group of volunteers is like nothing I have ever experienced, directed, or seen in my forty-year fire service career working with numerous civilian volunteers.”

The Support Services Division is extremely active within their department. A 1986 Snap-on truck was donated to the program in July 2008 to be used as a rehab/command vehicle.

Division volunteers implemented a design plan that completely transformed the vehicle’s interior, raising the funds for materials from private donations and grants. Since putting the rehab/command vehicle into service, the Division has expanded its capabilities to respond to multiple incidents without the worry that one incident would get resources over another.

This past summer the Sevier County Sheriff provided a 30-foot FEMA camper to the Division, further expanding their capabilities.

The Division actively responds to requests for assistance from other agencies and assists when manpower is needed for events such as managing the Vendor Program for the Sevier County Fire Chiefs’ Association and providing schools with assistance for special projects.

In addition to providing rehab services, Division members actively participate in department training programs as well as their own monthly training to ensure everyone is on the same page.

This includes courses in emergency vehicle operations, the Incident Command System (ICS-100; ICS-200; ICS-700 and ICS-800), proper rehab procedures, helicopter landing zone safety and operation, traffic management, and incident scene safety.

Some Division members are also certified under department policy to operate fire apparatus and support vehicles. This increases the department’s capabilities, especially when additional assets are needed but firefighters are committed to other functions.

Other activities of the Fire Corps team include assisting the department with fundraising, public education, and even social functions such as helping with a firefighter’s wedding or assisting the family of a firefighter who is sick or injured.

Caulfield is proud that his Fire Corps team received this year’s award.

“This award is a great honor for the 12 civilian volunteers and the Seymour
Volunteer Fire Department,” he said. “There are a lot of deserving Fire
Corps programs around the United States who are serving their communities just as this group does each and every day.”

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