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Father of the Rescue Movement

Julian S. Wise of Roanoke, VA is known and honored as the "Father of Rescue Squads." It all goes back to 1928 when he had witnessed a number of emergencies, particularly the drowning of a small boy in the Roanoke River. In discussing the situation with his wife, he found more than encouragement. In fact, he credits her with the idea which has grown to international proportions since he organized the famed Roanoke Life Saving and First Aid Crew (the first in the world) in May 1928. He helped organize many of the first squads in Tennessee.

Father of the Rescue Movement


The officers of the Association are: President, Vice-President, a Vice President for each of the four Regions, Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain, Historian, Parliamentarian, and Past President. All officers are volunteers in their work in and for the Association, serving without monetary compensation. Officers are elected at the annual conference. All powers of the Association rest in the Board of Directors, consisting of one Unit Director from each member unit. No action of the Association in any way takes away from the autonomy and freedom of action of the local unit. 

T.A.R.S. History

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. 

Objectives of T.A.R.S.

1. To promote a better understanding between the various Life Saving and Rescue Units, and the Public of Tennessee.
2. Increased efficiency through education and personal contact; through holding conventions and contests; (and Seminars); and through publications dealing with subjects of interest to all units in the State.
3. To establish Life Saving and First Aid work in the State of Tennessee on a basis comparable with that of other organizations whose work is statewide in character.
4. To foster a program of accident prevention throughout the State of Tennessee.
5. To give units in the State exact information pertaining to equipment and manpower which would be available to any unit in the event of a Catastrophe beyond the power of a single Unit to satisfactory handle.
6. To cooperate in, foster, and conduct research designed to advance the science and art of Rescue and First Aid work, and to encourage the standardization of practice and equipment, when such standardization is found practicable.
7. To develop and maintain a code of high ethical standards among Rescue and First Aid Personnel.
8. To bring together in a common Association all Organizations and Individuals in the State of Tennessee interested in the aforementioned objectives.
9. To establish a Rescue College to foster and teach advanced Rescue techniques across the State of Tennessee.

All activities of T.A.R.S. are designed and carried out to accomplish and forward the aforementioned objectives. 

Why Belong to T.A.R.S.

The Association works for better recognition of organized Rescue and First Aid activities through organizations, government officials, agencies, and departments, on community and state levels. Membership in T.A.R.S. gives each of us direct participation in promoting this greater understanding and recognition of the organized rescue and first aid movement.

* Active Unit Membership also provides:

Mutual exchange of information, procedures, and techniques.
Participation in Conference, Contest, Seminars, and Institutes.
Voting participation in the Associations Activities.
All publications and mailings of the Association from the State Office. Use of the distinctive T.A.R.S. emblems.
Right to register rescue vehicles without cost (no license plate required on properly marked T.A.R.S. vehicles.) (No boat registration fee.)
Eligible to drive Rescue Tags on personal cars.
Greater publicity for greater public support and understanding.
Mutual aid --- Efficient manpower and equipment as needed, available with one telephone call. 


* Membership benefits listed are for Active Unit Membership. Other categories will differ in membership benefits.

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