Legislation co-sponsored by Tennessee Senator Mike Bell and Ken Yager to aid volunteer firefighters received unanimous approval by the state senate today. Senate Bill 778 will provide an annual $600 payment upon completion of at least 30 hours of training.

“Our volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line and give up their time to keep our communities safe,” said Bell, who is a former volunteer firefighter. “They have to raise their own money to be able to purchase equipment and fund their training. I am glad this bill has passed the Senate. It will help make the financial burden for volunteer firefighters a little lighter.”

The majority of Tennessee’s firefighters, 64%, are volunteers. Currently, the cost of any training or equipment is often at their own expense. The $4.92 million cost for the annual volunteer firefighter training payment is funded in Governor Bill Lee’s 2021-2022 budget proposal.

In addition, Bell said Governor Lee’s budget includes $1 million to provide support grants for volunteer firefighter departments under a program set up by legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2019. The Volunteer Firefighter Equipment and Training Grant Program was established to better equip volunteer firefighter departments to serve their communities and reduce fire fatalities, including those incurred by firefighters.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

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