The Washington County / Johnson City EMS Honor Guard was formed in 1999 in order to represent Washington County / Johnson City EMS and the surrounding community in a variety of venues. At that time, we were the ONLY EMS based Honor Guard in the state. Our primary mission was and is to honor our fallen brothers and sisters should they answer their final call. We have stood watch and participated in funeral services both here in Washington County and Johnson City, as well as across Tennessee and its surrounding states. Locally, our Honor Guard has assisted other EMS, Police, and Fire agencies with the comforting presence of tradition and respect as their brothers / sisters have been put to rest.
On a lighter note, the honor guard has presented colors for parades, groundbreaking ceremonies, and building dedications. We have also participated in the opening ceremonies of the annual Northeast Tennessee Emergency and Rescue Conference as well as the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children Star of Life Awards held in Nashville, Tennessee. We also support the department’s annual Awards and Recognition Banquet.
It has been a busy few years and the Washington County / Johnson City EMS Honor Guard has become a well-respected group that other agencies turn to for guidance and assistance.
Currently, our team has 15 members with over 75 years of combined experience in Drill and Ceremony, both with the military and Emergency Service Agencies. Two of our officers have also had the privilege of attending the National Honor Guard Academy.
A lot of people don’t realize or understand what an Honor Guard does, but you need to look no further than the family of a fallen Public Safety Official as their loved one is laid to rest with honors, or the pride in the face of a citizen standing proudly as the colors pass by. We volunteer our time to represent all of our public safety agency brothers and sisters. We donate our time and effort because we feel it is our duty to be there for our brothers and sisters should they pay the ultimate sacrifice. We are committed to upholding honor and tradition with dignity and respect.
Washington County / Johnson City EMS has specially trained Paramedics in Tactical Medicine as well as advanced SWAT tactician schools. These Paramedics train & respond with the Johnson City Police & Washington County Sheriff Departments SWAT teams. They are responsible as the initial on scene care providers during a tactical evolution.
Search and Rescue Team
The Search and Rescue Team is responsible for locating and recovering lost or injured persons, and High Angle Rope Rescue. The Search and Rescue Team is equipped with a trailer stocked with ropes, harnesses, pulleys, rescue baskets, and several different types of ATVs. The team members are trained in Technical Rope Rescue to the Operations and Technician Levels. The Search and Rescue Team hosts several Technician level classes each year and encourages participation from outside agencies. From responding to ATV accidents, missing or injured persons, and rope rescue situations the Search and Rescue Team is a very diverse team capable of handling numerous situations.
Dive Rescue and Recovery Team
The Dive Team provides rescue and recovery services for Washington County and Johnson City. The Dive Team is made up of Divers with a very diverse background to include Dive Masters, Instructors, EMT’s and Paramedics, and Law Enforcement personnel. The Dive Team is responsible for recovering drowning victims, as well as weapons, vehicles and other evidence at the request of Law Enforcement Agencies. The Dive Team is equipped with a Side Scan Sonar unit which assists in locating objects in the water, as well as two boats which are used to patrol the local Lake. You will see the Dive Team on Boone Lake many weekends during the summer months assisting boaters and providing lifesaving rescue services. During lake patrols the boat is staffed with at least one EMT and Diver. The Dive Team is very proud to have “Jake” and his Handler Cynthia Bales on board. Jake is a Chocolate Lab specialty trained in Cadaver Recognition. Jake is one of the only Cadaver Dogs in this region and is called upon to help with body recoveries all over the region. Cynthia and Jake spend countless hours training in order to keep Jake ready.
The Swiftwater Rescue team is a team of highly trained individuals in the art of rescuing people from fast moving water. In Washington County the team is utilized mostly in the event of flooding and for emergencies in our rivers and streams. Our Swiftwater Team has equipment to safely rescue people from fast moving water weather they have grasped onto a tree limb to hold on to, stuck on a rock, from flooded cars, stranded/flipped boats and rafts, foot entrapment, and hydraulics. They use a variety of ropes, harnesses, pulleys, floatation devices, paddle boats, and motored boats in their operations. The team members are trained in Swiftwater Rescue, Rope Rescue, Rescue from vehicles in water, and boat operations; all team members are trained to an Operation or Technician level and many are Advanced level.
EEA (Employee Education Association)
The Employee Education Association is a group of employees that volunteer their time to provide educational opportunities to the employees of Washington County / Johnson City EMS. The EEA is the host organization for the Northeast Tennessee Emergency Medical and Rescue Conference. This is an annual conference that attracts ems personnel from all over Tennessee and has had some nationally acclaimed speakers. Also the EEA provides funds to employees for classes and education that is not covered through employment.