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DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Wants You!

May 28, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

What if you had a fire at your home and nobody came to put it out?

You may not realize it but your county fire department, like many others in cities and counties across the state, is made up entirely of volunteers. These are people who care about their community and have a desire to help their neighbors. But over the years fewer people have stepped up to serve. To keep the department adequately staffed for years to come, DeKalb County needs you!

During the month of July, the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department is conducting a recruitment drive and awareness campaign in search of new members. Already 18 new recruits have signed up within the last two months but more volunteers are needed. While the month of July is the focus of the effort, recruitment actually goes on year round and new volunteers may join at any time.

County Fire Chief Donny Green and Recruitment Chairman Matt Adcock say the department needs to increase its membership in order to better serve the county. Currently the department operates 12 fire stations across the county staffed by a total of 61 members.

“We are a county wide volunteer fire department. We have a chief, assistant chief, three captains, three lieutenants, a commander over each individual station, and the 61 volunteers who are assigned to each station but we are experiencing a severe shortage of volunteer firefighters in DeKalb County. This is not just an issue here but all over the state and country,” said Chief Green. “In 1986 when I started as a volunteer DeKalb County had more farmers and a lot of them were on the fire department. In many cases these farmers would be out on a tractor or in a tobacco field and when a fire call came in they would stop working and come to the fire. We also had a large industry here at that time who was really good about letting employees on duty, who were also volunteer firefighters, leave work to answer fire calls. We have lost much of that now. Today many people are so busy with their jobs or other commitments they don’t have time to volunteer which is making recruiting more challenging for us as a fire department,” he said.

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department not only responds to fire calls at homes and businesses but to car wrecks and rescue extrication, hazmat emergencies, storm recovery, setting up landing zones for air medical services, among other emergency calls.

No membership fees are required to join. Just a commitment of time for volunteering and training. Incentive awards are available to volunteers who go above and beyond as well as other benefits.

“The days of handing someone a hat and fire coat and making them a firefighter are long gone. We feel an obligation to have every one of our new recruits trained because what we do every day is very risky. We deal with life and death situations so we take the training very seriously,” said Chief Green.

“We provide all the training. We can take someone who has zero fire fighting experience and train them free of charge. We pay for the training and equipment but we do expect them to commit their time. We start with a 16 hour in-house orientation and then a 64 hour rookie school. Two of our trainings are in emergency vehicle operation,” said Adcock.

“The orientation introduces new recruits to emergency services, our department and standard operating guidelines. The 64 hour basic recruit school covers the fundamentals of firefighting. After that another phase of training is offered for recruits who want to do what we call interior fire attacks, using breathing apparatus, to go inside a burning structure. This is a weekend training and its done at the state fire academy in Bell Buckle,” said Chief Green.

Specialized training is also available to firefighters in vehicle rescue, hazardous materials, medical first responder, and wildland firefighting services.

Along with the sense of fulfillment for helping others, being a volunteer firefighter is rewarding in other ways.

“We offer recruitment and retention points for those who attend the trainings, meetings, firecalls, etc, and we reimburse them for that each month. Because we are considered county employees as far as insurance even though we are volunteers, the county provides workers compensation benefits as well as insurance for injury and death. Volunteer firefighters also qualify for an emergency license plate through the county clerk’s office. Once you meet the requirements for the tag you can submit that information to the county mayor’s office each year for a license plate fee reimbursement. The county also offers a half price gym membership at the county complex. These are a few of the benefits offered but the greatest is being able to serve your community,” said Chief Green.

County volunteer firefighters gather for an annual membership banquet in January for awards and special recognition. Also during the year, the department hosts other events for its members and their families including Halloween and Christmas parties, and 4th of July fireworks shows.

If you would like to join the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department call Chief Donny Green at 615-464-7176 or any county volunteer firefighter for more information or to obtain a membership application. You may also access the application at

If you know of others who might like to join, Adcock asks you to help spread the word.

“Word of mouth is probably the best way we get our message out. Talking to someone face to face gives them an opportunity to ask questions and get answers firsthand,” he said

“Social media is also a useful method, especially in reaching younger people through facebook, twitter, instagram, and snapchat and we plan to do more of that”.

“Signage and a banner posted at our fire stations gives us more visibility in the community too. These displays are effective in drawing the attention of people as they drive by. The banner sends a strong message of how we need volunteers,” Adcock continued.

“Of course local media sources help us spread the word. Radio and newspaper have always helped us share news from the department,” added Adcock.

Even if you are not able to volunteer as a firefighter but want to learn more or help in other ways, Chief Green said there is a place for you.

“A lot of times we get people that want to help but who can’t go into a burning house. We have a job for most anybody 18 years of age or older. We have people in our department right now who are in their 70s who are doing things to help us. We need people to drive our trucks, and run the pumps. We even have a Rehab team made up of people who provide support. If we are on a major incident for a long time, the Rehab team does things like provide drinking water, and resources to cool or warm our volunteers depending upon the weather. We have a job for anyone who wants to help. Of course our annual Citizens Fire Academy is a great educational program too in which participants can get some hands-on experience in what it is like to be a firefighter, said Chief Green.

Board of Education Set to Act on Reopening Schools

July 5, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools are expected to reopen on Monday, August 3 and the Board of Education plans to make it official Tuesday night, July 7 during the regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. at the Ernest Ray Education Center. A work session will be held prior to the meeting at 6 p.m.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps announced last month that plans are to reopen schools in the traditional manner (all students, all teachers, all day) barring any surge in COVID-19 although protocols will be observed to help protect the health and safety of students and school staff.

The agenda is as follows:

Consider and act on the 2020-21 General Purpose Schools/Food Service Budget

Consider and act on Individual School Budgets and Fundraiser Requests for 2020-21

Consider and act on School Board Policies-1st Reading

Consider and act on opening DeKalb County Schools August 3

Consider and act on CTE Surplus Property

Appoint members to the Student Disciplinary Hearing Authority and to name a chairman

Director of Schools to give a monthly personnel report

The consent agenda is as follows:

Consider and act on ESSER Budget Amendment

Consider and act on modifying the number of credits required for graduation

Consider and act on Local Government Hardware Maintenance Agreement.

DeKalb’s Confirmed Number of COVID-19 Cases Since March Totals 70

July 5, 2020
By: Dwayne Page

DeKalb County’s confirmed number of COVID-19 cases has jumped to 70.

As of Tuesday , July, 7 the Tennessee Department of Health reported that 2,214 people had been tested with 2,144 negative results and 70 positive. There have been no deaths in DeKalb County from the virus and 40 of the 70 persons tested positive since March have recovered.

The DeKalb County Health Department conducts free drive through assessments for COVID-19 Mondays through Fridays from 9am- 11 am.

At 70 cases, DeKalb County now ranks 7th highest in the 14 county Upper Cumberland region behind Putnam with 919 (7 deaths), Macon 500 (4 deaths), Cumberland 188 (4 deaths), Smith 124 (1 death), Warren 81, and White 76 (3 deaths). Other counties in the region with COVID-19 cases are Overton 65 (1 death), Cannon 37, Jackson 30, Fentress 24, Clay 19, Van Buren 7, and Pickett 6.

Tennessee’s rural county health departments continue providing traditional services and are taking every precaution to keep patients, clients and staff members safe from COVID-19. In addition to routine services, TDH county health departments offer COVID-19 testing at no charge for anyone who wishes to be tested.

“We’re ready and eager to provide crucial services such as immunizations, WIC, family planning and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and to remind everyone of the importance of maintaining routine health care,” said Assistant Commissioner for Community Health Services Karen Hyman, MHA. “We will work with you to provide the care you need in the safest manner possible. We don’t want anyone putting off needed health care for fear of COVID-19, so call your local clinic to ask about available services.”

Tennessee’s local health departments are diligent in infection control efforts and provide a safe environment in which to receive health care and other services. Our rural health departments now offer some services by telephone and will soon have services available via telemedicine. Many health department clinics offer curbside immunizations and prescription pick-up. Clinics are managing appointment times and patient flow to provide for social distancing. TDH county health department clinics offer face masks to patients and clients who do not bring their own to wear, and all staff members wear masks and follow strict Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for health care facilities and providers.

Services available to everyone at Tennessee county health departments include:

•Immunizations • Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Nutrition Program
•Family Planning
•STI Screening and Management
•Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening
•TB and HIV Testing and Treatment
•Baby & Me Tobacco Free™ Smoking cessation program for pregnant women and their partners
•Primary Care (select locations)

TDH operates local health department clinics in 89 of Tennessee’s 95 counties. Find location and contact information for your local county health department at Local health department clinics will be closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.

TDH health department clinics offer COVID-19 testing Monday-Friday. Some clinics require an appointment for testing. Find information on clinic testing hours online at

Connect with TDH on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn @TNDeptofHealth!

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