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Date last updated: Thursday, June 7, 9:40 PST
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Volunteer firefighter calls out Tenn. department for lack of turnout gear
By Kimberly McMillian
Chattanooga Times Free Press
RHEA COUNTY, Tenn. — Phil Cise Sr., a Summitt, N.J., volunteer firefighter who helped clear debris at ground zero in New York City, knows firsthand the importance of having turnout gear readily accessible whenever it's needed.
Cise, a third-generation firefighter who owns a tree-trimming business, said he learned about the 9/11 plane crashes while working about 22 miles away. He went to help immediately, he said.
Serving as a volunteer firefighter "comes from the heart ... and creates a brotherhood," Cise said.
He said having the proper equipment is essential.
"Purchasing the best equipment is not an option," he said.
Cise, who is in Rhea County working on a book about 9/11, said accessible turnout gear includes four pieces — pants, coat, a helmet and boots.
Jacky Reavley, Rhea County's fire chief and emergency management director, said that under the former fire chief a grant had allowed for the purchase of newer air packs and turnout gear for volunteers to replace "hand-me-down" equipment.
Reavley said officials have applied for another grant because they do not have enough gear for all the firefighters.
"We haven't purchased major equipment in a while ... and haven't heard anything from grants [we have applied for]," Reavley said.
Rhea County averages nearly 200 volunteers serving 12 fire districts, he said.
In addition to his book, Cise is trying to help raise money for a Sept. 11, 2001, memorial in Independence, N.J.
Copyright 2012 Chattanooga Publishing Company
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