CCRS buys two new rescue trucks, one located in Roan Mountain

By Abby Morris

Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Approximately 10 years after the residents of Roan Mountain saw their rescue truck reassigned to another station in Carter County, the Carter County Rescue Squad was able to replace the one that was removed.
   According to CCRS Director Terry Arnold, the rescue truck had been removed from its Roan Mountain post "due to nobody manning it and needing it down here." Since then, he said, "our goal has been to get another crash truck in Roan Mountain."
   The CCRS recently purchased two new rescue trucks, one of which was assigned to Roan Mountain, and, since then, things have been moving right along for the department. "Our response time is a lot lower for MVAs (motor vehicle accidents) there," Arnold said.
   The new trucks -- a Ford F550 for Roan Mountain and a Ford F650 which is now located at Station One -- cost the department $245,000 for the vehicles and another $35,000-40,000 per truck to equip them to respond to emergencies.
   Plans had been underway to get a new truck in Roan Mountain for about four or five years, and now those plans have come to fruition. "Roan Mountain had gone long enough without a truck," Arnold said. "I want the people of Roan Mountain to know we've got it back in service and it will stay there."
   The new Carter County Rescue Two truck is the department's first ever four-wheel drive vehicle. Members of the Roan Mountain Volunteer Fire Department are helping to man Rescue Two along with CCRS crews on a "called out basis" according to Arnold.
   The new Carter County Rescue One truck, which makes its home at Station One, also has a first for the department. It is equipped with a light tower that can be raised to a height of 30 feet to help rescue workers when they have to work motor vehicle accidents or other emergency calls at night.
   As Carter County grows, the CCRS must grow along with it. "We average about 900 calls a month with the same staffing we've had for the last four or five years," Arnold said. "As the volume increases, we have to be planning ahead to meet those needs."
   Part of the CCRS's plan for the future is to upgrade their technology by using a special kind of computer on the rescue trucks to make reporting incidents easier and more affective. The Hammer Head computer systems aid emergency workers in filling out their reports and allow workers to print reports from the truck or download them onto another computer.
   "That's what we're going for next," Arnold said. "What we're trying to do is get rid of a lot of the paper work and get into the computer."
   Members of the CCRS are also preparing for something that may come in the future, but they hope will not. Currently, emergency workers are undergoing various training exercises and classes to prepare for a possible chemical or biological attack. However, these training classes, which are part of homeland security, can make things difficult on departments like the CCRS.
   "It's putting a strain on us because we're not getting any grants," Arnold said. "Where we're not a fire based operation, we're just EMS (emergency medical services), we're being left out of the grants." He added that this is because most of the grants go through fire departments because, in many larger cities, emergency medical services and fire departments are combined.