Kingsport was the first squad in Tennessee to organize in 1948, receiving its charter in 1950. Johnson City organized in 1949, and received its charter in 1950. These squads were instrumental in organizing many other squads.
The T.A.R.S. held its organizational meeting in Johnson City, on January 14, 1955. Representatives from rescue squads in Kingsport, Johnson City, Elizabethton, Greeneville, and Oak Ridge met to organize a statewide association to promote rescue work.
From the original charter group of five squads, T.A.R.S. has grown to 115 squads with approximately 5,000 members - stretching through the four Regions from Bristol to Memphis. Some accomplishments of T.A.R.S. include legislation enabling squads to register rescue vehicles without being required to pay the license fee, proclamation by the Governor of a statewide Rescue Squad Week, designing and distributing a T.A.R.S. flag and a logo which is a registered trademark, and the development of efficient procedures for region wide and statewide operations.
Some recent activities of T.A.R.S. include the development of regional teams, which specialize in technical rescue disciplines and the expansion of training programs designed to support such endeavors.