While training may not sound like an important component of fire safety and rescue, the American Fire Service attributes improvements in training for fire personnel with a decline in the number of fire-related deaths in the last decade.

In addition to lives being saved, training enables firefighters to respond more efficiently, reducing property damaged caused by fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), this can be essential in situations where fire damage to the community could be essential.

Training also provides needed experience for volunteers to be effective in their jobs, according to NFPA reports.

Lincoln County has once again recognized as an ELITE club Silver designee with the Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy for training hours. This was accomplished even during the COVID-19 pandemic when a lot of things, like training, were put on hold, according to Lincoln County Emergency Management Director and Lincoln County Fire Chief Doug Campbell, who made the announcement.

“We were down in hours from last year,” said Campbell, “But we still managed to surpass the 1,000 hours of training required to reach this performance level.”

 Of the 635 recognized fire departments in the state, there were only 55 that met the minimal 1,000 hours of training with the Fire Academy, according to officials.

Campbell said the accomplishment puts Lincoln County Volunteer Firefighters inside the top 10% of training, “if I did my math correctly. It is important to note that this training only covers classes that were part of the fire training that this department was involved in.”

Along with meeting minimal state fire training requirements, the fire chief said this group also trains on water rescue, vehicle extrication and medical training, just to touch the high points.

“All of this is accomplished by this group giving of themselves and time away from their families for no pay, just knowing that their actions may have been able to help someone who was in need, keeps them going,” Campbell said.

Bobby Jett, Petersburg Fire Chief and Lincoln County Assistant Fire Chief, said the recognition is “a big deal” for Lincoln County firefighters. “We do a lot of training and we can be proud of these volunteers.”

Lincoln County Volunteer Fire Rescue is currently comprised of 12 stations located across the county in various communities. The group operates with a chief, two assistant chiefs and each station location having a captain and lieutenant.