JASPER HIGHLANDS, Tennessee (WDEF) – What if you called 9-1-1 to respond to a fire at your home, and nobody came?
That’s a scary thought!
And it should remind us that many fire departments are staffed with only volunteers.
One of those agencies is in the new community of Jasper Highlands in Marion county.
They started their own fire department with some expert help from our First Responder of the Month.
Here’s News 12’s Bill Mitchell.
The Jasper Highlands Volunteer fire department started from scratch about 5 years ago. It’s a fast growing community of some 200 homes on the mountain…and looking to become 1500 homes in the near future.
Lowell Hardin enters the picture at this point.
LOWELL HARDIN, CHIEF JASPER HIGHLANDS VFD “had a friend who worked up there and he called me and said can you help me train these guys. I said yes, I’d be happy to. Started working with them in training ..became a member of the department…the chief position opened up and eventually I became chief.”
How Lowell Hardin found time to do that is another story.
CHIEF HARDIN “I’m a Health care consultant…I’m a nurse by background. And I work with hospitals, emergency departments and patient flow.”
And Chief Hardin is seldom home..the travels across the country. BUt he’s always in touch with the Jasper Highlands people.
he helped them get 2 federal grants that helped build the new fire station and gather equipment. The almost daily training keeps dozens of volunteers ready to respond.”
CHIEF HARDIN “I think there’s a lack of awareness across the country that still about 70% of the fire department and fire fighting across the country is performed by volunteers. And many people..they are used to calling 9-1-1 and people showing up ..they don’t realize many times that’s a volunteer fire service.”
Lowell Hardin…a nurse turned EMT…turned firefighter..Fire chief and medical consultant. That’s a plate full. So, we’d like to salute Chief Hardin as our first responder of the month.
CHIEF HARDIN “I appreciate honor of speaking with you ..we have an excellent team and I’d like to recognize the volunteers across the country and in our department that sacrifice time, family time, and sacrifice money to serve the community.”