Before there was a Smyrna Fire Department, the Smyrna CB Rescue Unit responded to fires, car wrecks, and other emergencies, but now the volunteer group is seldom used.
The Rescue Squad lost its funding and it’s building, but now it is hoping to reinvent itself as a full-fledged search and rescue unit.
For the most part, Smyrna Rescue Squad equipment sits idle, but volunteers are ready to respond at a moment’s notice.
“We’re still responding,” said Rescue Squad Chief Terry Smith. “We’re members of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads and if there’s a call out or if there is a need for us to go anywhere in the state, they’ll let our Regional 3 Vice President know and he will contact us, and we go where ever we are needed.”
The Rescue Squad helped with the search for nursing student Holly Bobo and with the Henry County Storm, as well as the 2010 Nashville Flood. Seven members used boats to help residents get to and from their homes as flood waters started to recede.
“It was a very devastating flood especially the Pennington Bend area around Lock Two,” Smith said. “There were other areas hit harder than that but that was a real bad area around Opryland.”
For nearly 55 years, the rescue squad has been in existence helping to save countless lives.
“They were doing the fire department, they were doing the medical, the ambulance, they were helping the street department out whenever there was a storm,” Smith said. “Basically, we were the backbone for the city for a long time.”
But in 2005, the Town of Smyrna cut off funding to the volunteer group since Smyrna Fire Department was doing basically the same job.
Rutherford County followed suit in 2010. The group also lost its building after Town officials sold the land to a local church.
“Basically, we were the backbone for the city for a long time until things started coming online where they had their own fire department and the county coming online with the ambulance service,” Smith said.
Smyrna Rescue Squad is now hoping to reinvent itself, focusing on search and rescue. Five members of the Smyrna Rescue Squad are still FEMA certified in search and rescue and they respond across the state as needed.
“They are willing and ready to go anytime needed especially on the search end of it there is a lot of details when you go on a search, especially being hurricanes, tornados or flood area,” Smith said.
But in order to reinvent itself, the Rescue Squad needs funding.
“I’ve come out of my back pocket with the credit card to cover expenses, therefore, I don’t get reimbursed on it. I’ve been a volunteer for over 30 years and it’s not cheap.
Smith said other volunteers also chip in with expenses.
With possible flooding this weekend, the volunteers will clear their schedules just in case they are needed to help.
“We could very well be put on standby, we’ll find out if we get a call from our Region 3 VP, Vice President, if we have to be on standby for anything,” Smith said. “We’ll have our boat ready if needed.”
Smith is trying to set up a meeting with Rutherford County Government in hopes of getting funding.
If you would like to become a volunteer or donate to the non-profit organization, you can reach Chief Terry Smith by email email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org.