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October 4, 2013

Oct. 4, 2013

For more information
Contact: Cynthia Moxley
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 599-4045 (cell)
(865) 544-0088 (office)


Jerry_Harnish_023_RGB_157247091226Knox County Fire Chief Jerry Harnish has been named interim division general manager for Rural/Metro of Tennessee.

Harnish has 33 years of experience in fire and emergency operations, including six years as fire chief in Knox County. Harnish said the same high standard of operations will continue during his leadership.

“Both the fire and ambulance divisions are meeting and exceeding Knox County requirements,” Harnish said. “We will continue to meet the emergency needs of Knox County residents and those in the other counties we serve without interruption. Our people are committed to this goal.”

Rural/Metro South Zone Vice President John Karolzak said Rural/Metro has complete confidence in Harnish managing Tennessee operations.

“We are confident that Chief Harnish will work closely with employees to continue the high level of quality service to Knox County and the other important areas we serve,” he said. “His extensive experience has been a primary reason for the excellent service we have delivered to citizens there.”

Harnish began his career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with Rural/Metro in 1980. He rose through the fire department ranks and was named fire chief in 2007.

As chief, he has been responsible for protecting 216,500 residents, operating 15 fire stations in Knox County, 12 of which house paramedic engine companies. He managed strategic planning for the department, disaster planning and response, budget and oversight of the chief officers.

Rural/Metro is the largest emergency services provider in East Tennessee with more than 800 employees. Rural/Metro has been Knox County’s official emergency services provider since 1985 and has provided the county subscription fire coverage since 1977.

Harnish is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Tennessee Fire Chiefs Association and the East Tennessee Regional Council of Fire Chiefs, the last of which he chaired in 2010. He currently serves on the board of the Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad.

He graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory & Henry University in Virginia and is a 1998 graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Md.

Rural/Metro of Tennessee includes emergency operations in Knox, Blount, Loudon, Franklin and Polk counties.

Harnish has lived in Knox County since 1980 and is married to Dr. Duree Snapp, a veterinarian in East Knox County.

About Rural/Metro of Tennessee

Rural/Metro of Tennessee is the largest emergency service provider in East Tennessee, with a combined work force of more than 800 firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, telecommunicators and other support personnel. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) with contracts for 911 service in Knox, Blount, Loudon, Franklin and Polk counties.

Rural/Metro Fire Department is the third largest in the state by population protected and has provided fire protection for Knox County since 1977. Rural/Metro Corporation provides emergency and non-emergency medical transportation, fire protection, and other safety services in 22 states and approximately 400 communities throughout the United States.