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May 22, 2017

Tennessee’s Rescue Squads Recognized for Life-Saving Volunteerism

NASHVILLE, Tenn.Tennessee Rescue Squad Week is May 21 to May 27, 2017, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is honoring the dedication of the hundreds of men and women in rescue squads across the state for their vital assistance and service.

“Tennessee’s rescue squads risk their lives to save the lives of others every day,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan. “We are fortunate to have such extremely-qualified, well-trained, and unselfishly-dedicated professionals in communities across the state promoting the organized rescue and first aid movement.”

The Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads (TARS) says there are 95 rescue squads with 3,700 individual members in the state.

Since its initial charter in 1955, TARS accomplishments include the development of regional teams specializing in specific rescue disciplines, the expansion of rescue training from basic courses, such as vehicle extraction, to advanced work in swift-water rescues, and the acquisition of equipment and resources available for regional or statewide deployment.

“As we celebrate Tennessee Rescue Squad Week, I would like to thank all TARS members for their commitment and dedication to serving their fellow man,“ said TARS Executive Director Stacy Rhodes. “Living in the Volunteer State our members are the true definition of volunteers as they serve this state every hour of every day all year long.”

Kingsport, Tenn. organized the state’s first rescue squad in 1948, and received its state charter in 1950. Johnson City, Tenn. followed in 1949 and also received its state charter in 1950. Members from these squads were instrumental in organizing many other Tennessee rescue squads.

On Jan. 14, 1955, representatives of rescue squads from the Tennessee cities of Kingsport, Johnson City, Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Oak Ridge, met to organize a statewide association to promote rescue and first aid work. TARS is now in its 62nd year as a voluntary, non-profit organization of rescue squads.

About the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency: TEMA’s mission is to coordinate preparedness, response and recovery from man-made, natural and technological hazards in a professional and efficient manner in concert with our stakeholders. Follow TEMA on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, and, at

About the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads: TARS is an association of life saving, rescue, and first aid units with members organized, trained, and equipped, for various types of rescue and first aid work. TARS members voluntarily give their time and effort without compensation to the development of accident prevention and first aid procedures, the widespread education of the public in such procedures, and to necessary rescue and first aid work. More information is at