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Winter Work: How KFD Officials Prepare to Save the Day through the Holidays 
We've been covering how City employees make the holidays happen in our "Winter Work" blog series.

We caught up with Capt. John Dodson to learn about how Knoxville Fire Department's first responders prepare safety contingency plans for every City event. KFD's preparation makes it easier for us to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year worry-free.

Capt. Dodson


Position: Oversees EMS Division
With City since: 1996

The Knoxville Fire Department’s EMS Division is tasked with establishing contingency plans to ensure the safety of the large crowds congregating downtown around the holidays and throughout the year.

Dodson, who oversees the EMS Division, said the biggest work around each event is preparing “instant action plans.” With these plans, our EMS professionals must take into account details such as:
  • How to get emergency vehicles in and out of crowds;
  • How they will communicate with hospitals and dispatch; and
  • What to do in the event of sudden, extreme weather.
“Most of what we do is strategically position our utility vehicles that we equip with life support equipment and staff them with one EMT (emergency medical technician) and one paramedic,” said Capt. Dodson. “I guess describing our work during an event can seem kind of boring, but it’s the key to preventing tragedy in a chaotic event.”

EMS work can get pretty cold - especially when it involves arriving well in advance for events like the early-morning Jingle Bell 5K Run.

“You just have to bundle up because, hopefully, you’re not going to be moving much during the event,” Dodson explained.

Typically, EMS workers will have 20-30 interactions with the public - usually dealing with minor issues such as cuts that require bandages or ice packs for a swollen joint.

Every now and then, they’ll see a chest pain that leads to hospitalization.

Dodson and his team may not be the most visible asset to the untrained eye during the colors and excitement of Christmas in the City. However, they’re ever-present and prepared to lead civilians to safety in the event of an emergency.

Posted by On 28 December, 2018 at 8:38 AM