Learn More About Our Company Owner, Tommy Nelms
As the owners and operators of Sweeps & Ladders Chimney Service, Tommy and Beka Nelms have been providing chimney and dryer vent services to the Middle Tennessee area for over seven years. Since the early days of the business, Tommy has used his experience as a former Williamson County firefighter to keep area homes safe and has made it his mission to educate homeowners on how to prevent fires from happening in the first place.
What is your firefighter experience?
How did you transition from firefighter to business owner?
What was it like being a firefighter and a chimney sweep at the same time?
What finally inspired you to focus on Sweeps & Ladders full-time?
How did your family react to your career change?
What fire prevention advice would you offer homeowners?
“My wish for victims of fire is that they would’ve taken the time to educate themselves by learning what the common causes of structure fires are and what steps can be taken to avoid taking those risks. Every fire starts with one tiny spark and it can happen to anyone. Homeowners should have working smoke detectors in their home. All families should practice EDITH- Exit Drills In The Home. Make sure everyone knows to get out and have a safe meeting place like the mailbox. Make sure everyone knows how to dial 911. I know that sounds crazy, but it would surprise you how many people do not teach their kids these things. We must educate people on the safe operation of the fireplace and dryer vent. We must also educate them on what to do if a fire occurs.”
How does your firefighter experience influence your perspective as a business owner?
When I first started at the fire department we were sitting around the table talking about all of the big fires we had been in. At that time the Engineer of E3 spoke up. He had been in the fire service for over 25 years, and he told me something that I will never forget. He looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘In over 25 years, I have never seen a good fire. Every fire I have ever been to someone has lost something that they couldn’t replace. Your job as a firefighter is to prevent fires from ever happening–not just to put them out. If you spend the rest of your career and never go into another burning building, then you would be one of the most successful firefighters that ever put on the helmet.’ I had never thought about it like that before. That day, that conversation changed my perspective. I now spend time teaching people about how to prevent fires from ever happening, and that is the mentality that we have at Sweeps & Ladders.”