During one of the hottest weeks of the summer so far, Rural Metro brought cooling relief to surprised Farragut High School Marching Admirals band students last week following their next-to-last day of summer band camp.
Around 4:15 p.m., Thursday, July 29, Chris Cawood and Clay Patton of Rural Metro Fire Station No. 41 brought fire engine 241 onto the FHS campus, and filled up its reservoir from a fire hydrant near the CTE building.
After being alerted to the surprise — which was facilitated by FHS athletic director Donald Dodgen — band students ran to the edge of the school’s front lawn in eager anticipation. When the water started flowing, students danced, jumped and frolicked in the cooling mist.
The steady stream created a muddy slope where several students took turns sliding in the mud before rinsing off under the spray, which continued for about 20 minutes.
It was welcome relief and a treat for the 154 band students, who spent Thursday, July 15, through Friday, July 30, running drills daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in preparation for the upcoming marching season, which kicks off with this year’s superhero-themed program, “For the Good” Aug. 27 during halftime of the Admirals’ first home game versus Knoxville West.
It was just the latest summer community cool-down from Rural Metro, which the agency’s Public Information director Jeff Bagwell said is a seasonal focus.
“Most of the time we see people on their worst days, so it’s really nice when we can provide something that’s fun for not only residents, but our firefighters, too,” he said. “After 2020, it’s just so good to see kids having fun again.
“It really brings the community together.”
Already this summer, Rural Metro has taken pumper trucks to the Davis Family Y in Choto and in East Knox County to Shannon Valley Farms for “Water Wars.”
“It was great. Farents had a hiding place behind some bushes where they had a supply of water balloons,” Bagwell said about this annual event in Shannon Valley.
Typically, Rural Metro has been called to Montgomery Cove and Roefield by the Homeowners Associations to provide the fun and cooling service, he said.
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In addition to helping residents “beat the heat,” Bagwell said it’s a great way for non-subscribers to learn about what Rural Metro offers.
“We actually couldn’t do those fun events if we didn’t have subscribers, and it’s a great way to get out in front of people and educate them,” he said.
“Realtors and others should be letting new residents know; a lot of them don’t.”
Knoxville City provides fire protection for its residents, thanks to the additional tax dollars.
However, Knox County residents don’t pay that extra tax, and instead pay Rural Metro subscription fees if they wish to ensure fire protection.
Rural Metro has 17 fire halls located throughout the county, including two in Farragut. The only areas it doesn’t serve are Seymour and Karns.
Subscription costs are based on the home’s square footage, and billing can take place annually, quarterly or monthly. For example, ensuring fire protection on a 3,100 square foot house costs around $500 annually.
“Still much cheaper than property taxes,” said Bagwell, who estimated just under 50 percent of county residents are subscribers.
“We do have a responsibility to respond to every emergency, which we do,” he added.
Rural Metro is owned by Global Medical Response and offers an additional subscription for ambulance service.
“It all comes back to an educational process,” he added. “We are happy to come to HOAs and talk about what we offer.”
For more information, visit ruralmetrofire.com.