Danny Lawson & Chuck Atchley
CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County ambulance crews have been stationed at two Cleveland Fire Department locations.
The joint operation was announced Tuesday by Bradley County Emergency Medical Services Director Danny Lawson and Cleveland Fire Chief Chuck Atchley during a joint luncheon of city and county officials.
“I guess what we’ve done, in effect, is lower the fence,” Mr. Lawson said.
The two men began talking about some kind of cooperative work a year ago.
Now a county ambulance crew is stationed 24 hours a day and seven days a week at the city fire location on Freewill Road. Another county ambulance crew is stationed at the APD 40 city fire station eight hours a day, five days a week.
“It may not be today or tomorrow, but this is going to save somebody’s life,” said Chief Atchley.
Placing the city and county crews together brings faster response times for medical emergencies and cost effectiveness, Mr. Lawson said.
Although there was some hesitation at first from the two leaders, the crews have worked well together they said because they have common goals.
Mr. Lawson said the two services have not combined. They are still separate, he said, but sharing space.
Both Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis said they support the joint program.
So did some other local leaders including County Commissioner Howard Thompson, often know as a critic of the city.
“It really is a no-brainer,” Mr. Davis said. “When someone’s life is in danger, they don’t care which side of the line they are on.”
Most of Tuesday’s luncheon meeting was devoted to issues the two governments face with the construction of the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, near the Bradley County line. That discussion ranged from closer cooperation for the two planning departments, education needs and an expanded Exit 20 at Interstate 75.
“The summary is: fire, education and infrastructure,” Mr. Rowland said.
Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...