Bristol Fire Rescue has greatly expanded their public Safety Education services in an effort to prepare citizens for a myriad of emergencies. Assistant Fire Chief/Fire Marshal Jack Spurgeon, who also heads the department's Public Education Division, says that the department's comprehensive public education initiatives are a result of Fire Chief Barnes' goal for the department to be a positive, visible and proactive force for enhancing community emergency preparedness. Spurgeon said, "We want to provide safety information and teach skills to the public on a regular basis and hope interested citizens will take advantage of our unique and valuable safety education offerings".
The department's public safety education program is now called B.E.S.T, an acronym for Bristol's Essential Safety Training; the program will expand and develop in response to community safety needs.
Each year the Bristol Fire Rescue public education staff assists businesses, medical offices, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, churches, colleges, and schools in fire safety education and prevention. On average, the department trains about 300 individuals annually in the use of portable fire extinguishers, with approximately 170 of those participating in hands on training. Tragically, thousands of fires occur each year in on-campus and off-campus housing. We are a strategic partner with King College and we provide safety training to their faculty and staff on a regular basis.
Our BEST staff provides critical information relating to the importance of early evacuation, the proper and safe use of portable fire extinguishers and how to promote and increase fire safety awareness on campus. Several Bristol Fire and Rescue staff members assist with departmental training and also teach classes at the Northeast Tennessee Regional Fire Academy in support of the basic firefighter class or Rookie School. Personnel also actively participate with providing valuable safety training and information to both public and private school groups and to their faculty personnel, parents and staff.
Everyone with Bristol Fire Rescue is committed to promoting safety throughout our community and we are proud to have Patches and Pumper as a member of our fire prevention program. Patches and Pumper is our interactive robot, a tool we incorporate to enhance our teaching of fire safety and prevention. To schedule an appearance by Patches and Pumper, please contact Assistant Chief Jack Spurgeon at 423-989-5701.