By CHRIS LADD
A new Sumner County nonprofit aims to help public safety workers during and after a long response.
Gallatin resident and longtime firefighter Mark Harrington founded the Sumner County Fire Buffs this past fall.
Harrington at the time was working for the local Servpro in Sumner County and he built relationships with many of the public safety officials in the county. After meeting with them he soon realized there was a need for a rehab service.
A rehab service goes to a scene of a large fire or a lengthy police investigation and provides drinks, snacks, and provides a place for the public safety workers to cool off.
“I talked to many in the field and there was definitely a need for this,” Harrington said. “I set out on a mission to get a board of directors that was very passionate about public safety like I was.”
In August, 2017 they had their first board meeting and the ball started to roll from that point. They currently have eight board members and 12 volunteers.
They submitted paperwork in September to become a nonprofit and the group became an official nonprofit on Nov. 3.
With some of the relationships that Harrington has built over the years, the fire buffs was able to get an old fire truck donated by the Hendersonville Fire Department. They have added some equipment to that truck and have made turned it into a rehab truck.
The truck went into service on Dec. 15, and since that time they have responded to nine fire calls in Sumner and Robertson County.
They have worked out an agreement to store the Rehab truck at the Shackle Island Volunteer Fire Department.
Though the truck is in operation, the Sumner County Fire Buffs still have plenty of needs.
“Our biggest need is funding and volunteers,” Harrington added. “We’re looking for volunteers that are maybe retirees that can help a firefighter take off some gear and give them a drink or snack to help them recover after battling a fire.”
The Sumner County Fire Buffs is the fourth-largest organization of its kind in the state of Tennessee.
“The fire gear weighs close to 70 pounds or more, and our goal is to ensure rest and recovery after the call,” Harrington said. “We want to get that firefighter or police officer back in the exact condition they were in before they took the call.”
If you’re interested in volunteering or donating you can call Harrington at 615-642- 4913.