SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — Ember, Sevierville Fire Department's firehouse pup, is a Dalmatian reporting for duty, ready to teach fire safety.
The 5-month-old new recruit has a bark that's a natural fire siren, four legs and a super sniffer. Ember is the firefighter Dalmatian in training at SFD.
Britney Gerry is Ember's handler. The pair are together all the time, on and off shifts.
"She comes back and forth with me on my 24/48 hour shifts," Gerry said. "She's here for 24 hours at a time.”
This pup has a packed schedule of playtime.
"She gets up with me bright and early, we come over here and usually sit around, have a meeting in the morning, get the game plan of the day," Gerry said. "She runs around, greets everybody in the morning and pretty much plays like a puppy. We get her all riled up and chase her around the bay all day."
It's safe to say the fire station is her playground.
"She'll go see everybody that's here and go love on them for a little bit," Gerry said. "She loves everybody here."
A family donated Ember to the fire department. She is five months old now and learning how to save the day with every training session.
"She knows stop, drop and roll," Gerry said. "She can close doors as a part of our close before you doze campaign and she is very smart."
Elementary students got to pick her name in a coloring contest. Now, the winning coloring page hangs proudly in the lobby, right next to the station's previous Dalmatian.
"Previously in the history, they would follow the horse-drawn carriages in the fire department, and so having her around it's so much fun," Gerry said. "You know, she'll ride in the engine, she'll hang her head out the window and everybody loves it. You can't go down the road without somebody taking a picture."
She's known to be "spotted" online, so the community can keep up with her progress.
"We do little pup dates," Gerry said. "You can tell by just Facebook comments everybody loves her."
Not only is Ember fun to play with, but she also provides real relief for the heroes who work there.
"Ember has been great for us," Gerry said. "You know, we get back, we have a stressful call, Ember is here and we love up on her and play with her, and it kind of makes all that stress go away, so it's good for all of us."
They plan to take Ember to schools and nursing homes to teach fire safety. In the meantime, her role of wrestling with the staff is spot on.
"She's the little sister and all the big brothers are protecting her," Gerry said.
If you would like to visit Ember, she is at the Sevierville Fire Department's Dolly Parton Parkway location. She's at the station every third day.