As many communities struggle to recruit and retain first responders amid rapid growth, the La Vergne Fire Department has made a continual effort to promote professional and personal development in order to bolster both the department and their community.
In recognition of the concerted efforts made by the La Vergne Fire Department to pursue professional development to provide the best services possible to their community, the Tennessee Municipal League (TML) is pleased to present La Vergne with an award for Excellence in Fire Services. The award will be presented Tuesday, July 25, at the TML 83rd Annual Conference held at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.
Since its reincorporation in 1972, La Vergne has seen its population explode from around 5,000 residents to more than 38,700 at the last census due to its proximity to two major airports and the recruitment of major companies. One of the ways the city has dealt with this growth is the establishment of a municipal fire and rescue department in 2013.
The growth of Middle Tennessee has a whole has made the recruitment and retention of fire and EMS officials a challenge for many departments and La Vergne Fire and Rescue has met this challenge head on with an intentional focus on increased professionalism. Members are encouraged to take part in continued professional growth through higher education coursework, advanced levels of professional certification, and professional licensure.
Of the departments 48 firefighters, 10 hold degrees ranging from associate’s to master’s, eight are actively pursuing degrees, and three are registered to begin their classes in the fall. As a result, half of the department will hold some level of higher education certification. Within the past 12 months alone, members of the department have collectively earned 42 accredited professional certifications or levels of licensure above what is required for their position.
This dedication to professional advancement is shown both in how the department responds to community emergencies and their elevation of the profession as a whole. These accomplishments have also contributed to the improvements of La Vergne’s ISO rating from a Class 3 to a Class 2 this year along with the department’s fire prevention, community risk reduction, and fire suppression efforts. As a result, the La Vergne Fire Department is now ranked in the top 5% of Tennessee departments and the top 6% of fire departments nationally.
Each year the Tennessee Municipal League honors cities throughout the state for overall excellence, improvement, specific outstanding programs, or department accomplishments. Award winners for 2023 include the city of Algood for Excellence in Community Development; the city of Clarksville for Excellence in Police Services; the city of Collegedale for Excellence in Public Works; the city of Harriman for Small City Progress; the city of Kingsport for Excellence in Economic Development and Revitalization; city of La Vergne for Excellence in Fire Services; the city of Lakesite for Small City Progress; the city of Morristown for Excellence in Recreation Facilities; the city of Nolensville for Excellence in Strategic Planning in Fire Service; the city of Paris for Excellence in Green Leadership; the city of Smyrna for Excellence in Governance.