Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: Knoxville Fire Station 7

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Knoxville Fire Station 7  primarily handles the Lonsdale community in Knoxville and every day of the year, at least three firefighters are always ready to respond.

It's 7 a.m. Monday: time for a shift change. Captain John Tillett and his team are starting their 24-hour rotation, and the first thing they do is an equipment check, and it doesn't matter how cold, hot or wet it might be.

"We check all the lights, we walk around and make sure all the emergency lights are working," said Capt. Tillett. 

The chainsaw gets fired-up along with the generator, jaws of life and truck ladder. 

"This is what you don't know about it's what we do, everyday we check the truck, make sure we're ready to go because emergencies aren't scheduled, we don't know what's coming, if it's going to be a fire or drug overdose, cardiac arrest, car wreck, we don't know, but we're ready to go for whatever it is," said Capt. Tillett.

They also check inside the truck to make sure all their equipment, including paramedic bags, are ready to go.

"These are the things we use on almost every call," said firefighter Charles Munford, said the overdose drug, Naloxone, is used a lot and is constantly bring re-stocked. 

But that's not all, everything is tested to make sure it works, including the defibrillator.

Once the equipment is checked, the truck is inspected, and everything is good to go. Now, it's time for breakfast. While the bacon sizzles and the eggs beaten, other chores are getting done. Like cleaning the bathroom and the hallway.

"Captain has breakfast going, usually we'll do a little clean-up to make sure the station is clean for the day, just anything that needs to be done," said Firefighter Justin Dyer. 

And if they get an emergency call, it's drop everything and go. 

"We turn it off, let it sit, it'll cook while we're gone and then we'll just pick up when we come back, we just pick up and go again," said Capt. Tillett.

On this morning, there was no emergency call, so everything got checked, replenished and cleaned at the beginning of the shift and, for an added bonus, we all got to enjoy a warm breakfast, sitting like a family, around the table, sharing stories.

If you'd like to become a firefighter, you have to be at least 18 years old and fill out an online application on the city's website. You'll be asked to pass a test first, and then an in-person interview. Make it through that and you'll get a hire date, and start 27 weeks of training. Then, you'll be assigned to a fire station.

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