Blount County Rescue Squad staffs "The Dragon"

9:06 PM, Jul 20, 2013   |    comments
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  • Three members of the Blount County Rescue Squad spend Saturday stationed at The Dragon on U.S. Route 129.
  • Blount County Rescue Squad Deputy Chief Ed Wolff shows WBIR the equipment now stationed at The Dragon on the weekends.

(WBIR - Blount Co.) The Blount County Rescue Squad has a new plan to cut down on response times to a consistent, and sometimes fatal, pocket of trouble.

Earlier this summer, the team started to staff "The Dragon" on U.S. Route 129, every Saturday and Sunday.

"It's 380 curves and 11 miles on U.S. 129 going between North Carolina and Tennessee," said Ed Wolff, deputy chief for Blount County Rescue Squad.

The Dragon is a popular spot for motorcycles.

According to Wolff, the Blount County Rescue Squad has responded to about 550 calls so far in 2013. About 8 percent of those calls come from accidents at The Dragon.

Many times, those calls involve serious injury.

Before stationing crew members there, it would take the rescue squad 25-45 minutes to respond. Now, they've shaved that down to as quick as seven minutes.

"In this case here we can have an EMT on site to the person within 7 minutes from where we're standing right now, the 7 mile marker," Wolff said.

The lack of cell phone service in the area adds to the amount of time it takes to respond to a scene, another reason why the rescue squad wants to be closer.

At least one unit, including three rescuers, are stationed at The Dragon during daylight hours on the weekends.

"We have a large number of boating enthusiasts out here, swimmers, kayakers, and we provide that medical care to them also. It's not just focusing on The Dragon for the motorcycle purpose," Wolff said.

The Blount County Rescue Squad said adding staff to The Dragon is not taking away from their efforts in the downtown area and mid-part of Blount County, which remain their primary focus.

They still staff a heavy rescue truck and quick response truck downtown.

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