To help firefighters in the 2012 heat wave, seven Blount County fire departments are coming together to help each other out.
"With the temperatures the way they are, it's essential to have backup," said Blount County firefighter Capt. Tim Ogle, shortly after extinguishing a blaze in Rockford Thursday. "A firefighter will not last half the time with the extreme heat."
Earlier in the day, the departments came together to establish "the HOT Team." HOT means Helping Other Teams.
"This is a first for us to say every fire department will respond at the same time," said Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan.
If a fire occurs in Blount County, the closest fire department will dispatch their normal crew. The remaining six other fire departments in the county will also dispatch two of their on-duty members to the scene for help.
"The main thing is the safety of our men and the citizens,' said Alcoa Fire Chief Roger Robinson. "What we do in these high temperatures is have enough people on scene and rotate them in and out."
Chief McClanahan says this co-op will not strain current crews if they're called on multiple fires.
"Looking at the 14 day forecast, this will be in place for 14 days. If it works, it'll be something we'll continue on," the chief said.
"As long as it's needed, we'll have the support," Captain Ogle added.