Hohenwald receives Municipal League award for Excellence in Fire Services
September 30, 2021
The Hohenwald Fire Department has made considerable efforts to improve its quality of service through encouraging continued professional development, acquiring new facilities for training, and bringing in outside partners to work with the department.
In recognition of the efforts made by the Hohenwald Fire Department to provide service above and beyond expectation for their community, the Tennessee Municipal League honored Hohenwald with an award for Excellence in Fire Services. The award was presented Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at the 81st Annual Conference of the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) held at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
A 30-member almost entirely volunteer all-hazards fire department, the Hohenwald Fire Department is led by Fire Chief Steve Vineyard and Volunteer Training Chief Daryl Newport. The department is alerted and responds to every fire, rescue, and hazardous materials emergency incident in the city of Hohenwald as well as all life-threatening emergency medical incidents throughout Lewis County.
Chief Vineyard wanted to ensure Hohenwald firefighters earn international accredited professional credentials and world-class training to serve their community. This initiative began in 2016 when Chiefs Vineyard and Newport began collaborating with the Tennessee State Fire and Codes Academy as well as the Tennessee Commission on Firefighting Standards and Education to outline specific goals and milestones they planned to accomplish for the department. The membership of the volunteer department overwhelmingly supported this goal and committed to the vision of the initiative.
Department members participated in many hours of both hands-on and academic training. In addition, the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy and the Tennessee Commission on Firefighting Standards and Education provided hands-on practical skills testing and written testing to evaluate their knowledge and skills against national consensus standards. The department also acquired a residential structure in Hohenwald to use for live-fire training.
As a result, the department has seen numerous improvements to its organization and quality of service. Almost every member of the department has an internally-accredited certificate in hazardous materials awareness, hazardous materials operations, and firefighter level I. Many members have also received firefighter level II certifications and several are working towards or have already achieved credentials as Instructor I and Fire Officer I and II. This year emphasis is focusing on special operations technical rescue disciplines, like rope rescue technician and confined space.
These trainings have had a notable impact on the ability of the department to serve both Hohenwald and to provide assistance to other surrounding departments. Continued personnel development has become a part of the department's organizational culture with many Hohenwald firefighters certified to some of the highest standards possible.
Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments. Other award winners for 2021 include the city of Chattanooga for Excellence in Green Leadership; the city of Cleveland for Excellence in Police Services; the town of Dandridge for Small Town Progress; the city of Elizabethton for Excellence in Governance; the city of Fayetteville for Excellence in Community Planning and Development; the city of Franklin for Excellence in Historic Preservation; the city of Johnson City for Excellence in Communications; the city of Kingston for Small City Progress; the city of Mt. Pleasant for Excellence in Strategic Planning; the city of Paris for Excellence in Parks and Recreation; and the city of Rocky Top for Excellence in Finance.