DFD shows fire call increase

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &045; In 2007, the amount of fire calls for the Demopolis Fire Department increased by 30 percent. A new fire station expected to open in the next few months and the recent upgrade to a fire and rescue department will increase their call volume even further, Fire Chief Ronnie Few said.

Recently, all 24 firefighters in the department completed Emergency Medical Service training, which certifies them to respond to the same calls as ambulance services when needed.

Out of 307 total calls for 2007, 26 percent of those were false alarms and non-emergency calls. The largest volume of calls was for structure fires, at 56 calls for the year. These statistics are increased 91 calls from 2006, which is about 30 percent.

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Many times when firefighters respond to a call, a smoke alarm has malfunctioned or faulty wiring has caused minor damage.

In previous years, it was reported each member of the department completed at least 4,000 hours of training. Last year the department’s emphasis on training was just as strong.

Few, who describes himself as &8220;big on training&8221; hopes to further increase the amount of training DFD firefighters receive. Already the department has a part-time training officer, and plans to step up their special services training, which includes things like hazardous materials training. Last year, the department responded to 13 haz-mat calls, which is comparable to the 12 responded to in 2006.

In addition to a training overhaul within the department and a similar reorganization of departmental procedures and policy, the DFD has to incorporate a third station into their department. Few said the city will be organized into three quadrants that correspond to each of the three stations.

With the new station in place, Few said Demopolites can look to receive both increased service to the east side of the city and insurance benefits. The new station is expected to increase the ISO rating for the department, which is the measure insurance companies use to give reduced rates to customers that live within a certain distance of a fire department.