Blount County Fire's "Coats For The Community"

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Blount County (WVLT) -- We've all heard the phrase "need knows no season", the only problem is needs change, as the seasons change.

Even as we gain an hour of sleep, some lose many degrees of warmth.

However something is being done about that.

For more than a decade now, the Blount County Fire Department's "Coats for the Community" has helped keep the cold out and the heat in.

"I'd say the first year we probably started out with a couple of hundred and it's grown," said Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan. "Last year it was between 1,700 and 2,000 coats."

A brisk chill in the daytime can turn flat out frigid over night.

Thanks to the program, some of Blount County's less fortunate will remain comfortable.

The idea behind the program is that a coat's layers of fabric can be all that stand between a freezing heartache and the warmth of compassion.

"Anybody that donates us coats, we look at it, check it, wash it and make sure its very useful," Chief McClanahan said. "Then we pass it on to those than can use them."

The racks at Blount County Fire's brand new Station #7 off Sevierville Highway hold around 1,500 coats for men, women, boys and girls alike.

Those who will soon get the coats represent the faces of Blount County, just like those who donated them.

"The community brings us the coats," he said, "they'll bring us one or two coats and sometimes they'll bring us a truckload of coats."

Station #7 is the largest in Blount County and a perfect base of operation for "Coats for the Community".

Walk-ins are welcome and the firefighters also distribute the coats at local schools.

The only question the fire department asks is if the person accepting the coat has a smoke detector in their home.

That lifesaving question has done just that in the past.

"A family came and requested a coat, so we got them coats and they said they had no working smoke detector," Chief McClanahan said. "We were able to put a detector in their house and a couple of weeks later they had a fire. They credited the smoke detector for saving their lives."

It's a combined life saving effort from public servants to the people they serve.

"It's good community relations in keeping the people warm and keeping them safe," he said.

If you'd like to give to or receive from, the Coats for the Community program, you can stop by Station #7 during business hours or call the Blount County Fire Protection District at 865-983-2133.

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