Report: ESD calls up 21.4% in 2016
Firefighters are responding to more calls and with greater efficiency, a report from Emergency Services District Executive Director Burney Baskett reads.
All contracted departments and the two ESD stations responded to 1,850 calls in July, with delayed response on just 12 calls, representing a 99.35 percent initial response. The remaining calls received mutual aid secondary response. Firefighters responded to 1,685 calls in July 2015. Firefighters are responding to an average of 359 more monthly calls in 2016 than in the previous year.
"I want to commend everyone," ESD commissioner Rick Cumins said, praising firefighters and chiefs for the response.
"We've got a great bunch of people," ESD President R.C. McFall said. "I'd put them up against anyone, anywhere."
Cleburne responded to 769 calls, representing 41.6 percent of all calls. Alvarado responded to 157 calls and Keene to 124.
Briaroaks Station No. 1 responded to 44 medical and 10 fire calls in July, while Station No. 2 responded to 44 medical calls and 10 fire calls. Combined, Briaroaks firefighters responded to 110 calls in July with no delayed responses.
The report also demonstrates response time is down at Briaroaks. The average response on a call in July 2016 was 11 minutes, 34 seconds, compared to an average response of 12:58 in July 2015. That's a difference of 84 seconds.
"The biggest difference is our membership is spending more time at the station," said Briaroaks Fire Chief Bryan Jamison, who is also president of the Johnson County Emergency Services Association. "To fix the problem of not responding, it helps to have incentives to spend time at the fire hall. We've just created an environment that makes people want to be here."
As an example, Jamison was grilling at home over Labor Day weekend, and brought brisket leftovers to Station No. 1. Several firefighters got the chance to test out his cooking.
"If you're at the station, that's what reduces response time," Jamison said. "We try to do two things: not miss a call and to lower our response time."
The report details that among the 1,850 calls for service, 82.9 percent were for medical response.
A dispatch report also indicates calls for service from receipt to dispatch are down. The average time from receipt to dispatch in 2016 is 29 seconds, compared to 35 seconds in 2015.
The 99.35 percent initial countywide response is good, Jamison said, but short of a goal to have complete initial response.
"You're not going to have a 100 percent response rate every month," Jamison said. "That's where mutual aid comes into play. Daytime staffing continues to be a struggle for every volunteer department."
He's been able to address that at Briaroaks through the recruitment and retention of a couple of members who are employed at paid departments and volunteer on off days, and a couple of others who are college students.