Fire Department announces promotions

Published 9:05 am Monday, November 16, 2015

NW1115 Fire promos
The Elizabethton Fire Department proudly announced the promotions of two long time employees: Rusty Barnett to Deputy Fire Chief and Andy Hardin to Fire Marshall.
“Rusty has been here for 34–almost 35–years and has the experience, knowledge and capability to perform at a high level,” said Fire Chief Barry Carrier. “I’m confident Rusty will serve the department well for many years.”
Barnett began with Johnson City Public Safety (formerly a joint fire and police department) and went on to work at the Elizabethton Fire Department as a firefighter, then engineer, then Captain for 24 years.
Barnett’s new responsibilities will include overseeing operations, training, payroll and assisting wherever needed.
“My number one goal is to upgrade training and certification,” said Barnett.
He emphasized his interest in improving training, installing more smoke alarms and continuing fire education with kids and adults. He noted that emergency calls have been fewer lately, likely an effect of improved prevention strategies.
“I love teaching fire prevention programs to children and will continue to lead tours,” he said.
Hardin shared similar goals and said he is looking into cataloging department information electronically to make it more organized and easier to access.
“I want to do everything I can to make business inspections easier and to maintain safety,” said Hardin.
His duties as Fire Marshall will include conducting fire safety inspections for businesses and events, investigating fires and reviewing plans for new buildings.
“Andy is very intelligent and has the personality to work with the public and business owners fairly, as well as the intellectual skills to interpret complex fire codes,” said Carrier.
Hardin has been with the EFD for 14 years as a firefighter and engineer, and before that, he was a volunteer firefighter with the Stoney Creek VFD for eight years.
Hardin said former Fire Marshall Jack Buckles had everything running very smoothly and that he hopes to maintain the same level of prevention.
“I’d like to see every citizen in Carter County have working smoke alarms,” he said. “The number one reason that people die from fires at night is from a lack of smoke detectors.”
He said through continued prevention efforts in the community, and working with families to equip homes with smoke detectors, he plans to make the city a safer place to call home.
Barnett said the city is already making strides towards improving an already excellent record with the EFD.
“I’m very proud of our ISO rating which went from a four to a three,” he said, meaning that residents may pay less for insurance because the fire department has scored higher on the fire suppression rating schedule.
Hardin emphasized the importance of having working smoke alarms in every bedroom of the home and said that residents can have them installed for free by calling the fire department at 542-5421 through the state’s Get Alarmed program.

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