Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services fire fighters and Cherokee County School District faculty members will come together on the basketball court for a good cause.
The Cherokee County Council of PTA is organizing six basketball games in which teams will compete in a game of hoops to raise funds.
Those proceeds would fire stations purchase Apple iPads embedded with GPS capabilities that will allow them to arrive sooner to scenes of fires, said Council President Adam Belanger.
"We’re constantly reacting to an issue or problem, issue or tragedy," he said. "When this came to our attention, this was our chance to save lives before something bad happens."
Each of the school district's attendance zones will form six teams and participate in a basketball game with firefighters who are based at stations within those specific zones.
For example, schools within the Etowah zone--Clark Creek Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Boston Elementary, Bascomb Elementary, E.T. Booth Middle and Etowah High--will pull faculty members from their respective schools to face off against fire fighters who work out of stations within that zone.
The games, which will be played at each of the high school's respective gymnasiums, are scheduled as follows:
- Jan. 11: Creekview High School game
- Jan. 12: Etowah High School game
- Jan. 17: Cherokee High School game
- Feb. 2: River Ridge High School game
- Feb. 9: Sequoyah High School game
- Feb. 10: Woodstock High School game
Gates open at 6 p.m. and tip-off starts at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $4 if ordered in advanced, but rise to $5 at the door of each game. They can be purchased on the council's website.
The proceeds would also be used to help purchase tablet devices as part of Cherokee County School District's Bring Your Own Learning Device (BYLD) initiative.
The initiative provides students access to tablets and e-readers, which they can use to download digital books.
Belanger said he hopes to sell at least 1,500 tickets per game, which could help with their endeavor.
"Getting kids (this) technology will help them learn things faster and help them prepare them for what’s next when it comes to technology," he added.
Clay Cloud, a Cherokee County firefighter, said he was approached last spring with the idea to organize a set of games.
Clay said the department has a database complete with business information such as contact numbers, floor plans, hazardous materials information; information and location of county fire hydrant.
However, when firefighters are out responding to calls of distress, they do not have access to this information once they leave the station.
These iPads, he added, can allow the department to "integrate our database so we can use it while we are responding to a call or once we arrive to help mitigate incidents faster and safer."
He noted the plan would be to place the iPads on all first-out apparatus so each of the county's stations would receive one.
Cloud said his department is not asking for a "handout" by participating. He noted he agreed to participate because county school children will benefit from the enhanced technology.
"The main focus is on giving back to our community (and) school system and helping better educate the children of Cherokee County," he said.
Belanger added he thinks the event will be a lot of fun and will go to benefit two great causes: giving school district students quality technology and helping the fire department respond more efficiently to calls.
"Any money we make in these events will keep us all safer and help our kids get educated," he said.