Behind the Badge: Knoxville native accepts challenge to lead city’s firefighter training

Behind the Badge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When members of the Knoxville Fire Department respond to a call, seconds count. One delay could mean the difference between life and death for those in need.

Now, a Knoxville native has been handed the task of making sure the men and women of KFD are ready to go at a moments notice.

In January, KFD veteran Scott Calloway was promoted to chief of training. Calloway, prior to the move had worked answering the call from Station No. 12 in West Knoxville.

He knows more than most what it takes to make sure the crews on the frontlines are ready.

“Their decisions are made instantaneously,” Calloway said. “They have to draw on their training that has been building since the day they were hired.

“That’s the biggest part here, that we are constantly improving but also honing that skill set they can draw on on a seconds notice so that it becomes second nature. It’s quite the challenge.”

Not making the challenge any easier however, is teaching new and fundamental lifesaving skills during a pandemic. The challenges the virus has posed is something Calloway and the department’s trainees have had to approach in different ways.

“It’s made it really tricky because when you train firefighters everybody works as a team. Nobody accomplishes anything on their own,” Calloway said.

One way the company is trying to adjust is by training firefighters by company.

“We try to keep the single companies together and train more or less like a pod and therefore limit the interaction of one company with another during training drills,” he said. “We’re making do. We’re still getting it done.”

So is Calloway ready for the challenge?

“I’ve been here 25 years and there is not a day I didn’t want to come to work.”

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