Ottawa Fire Department report

By Jeff Carner, Ottawa Fire Chief
Ottawa Herald – March 29, 2014
Submitted by Newz Group Clipping Service – April 22, 2014

During 2013, the Ottawa Fire Department (OFD) responded to 1,670 calls for service, which is up from previous years. The greatest increase was in the area of emergency medical and rescue calls, up by 230 in 2013. Building fires were down from 29 in 2012, to 23 in 2013. The community experienced an estimated $290,800 in fire loss during the calendar year. All incidents are reported to the State who in turn reports them to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), who uses this information to assess the nature and scope of the fire problem in the United States. The software we use allows us to evaluate many aspects of daily operations to review policies and practices to help operate at a high level of efficiency. During the year we had a percent saved rating of 92.31% which means that on average when a fire event occurs we are able to save over 90% of the property involved.

The OFD operates with 20 career staff and are supported by eight volunteer members. These volunteers contribute numerous hours to the department and the community throughout the year. We operate out of two stations which helps in reducing response times for calls for service. Quick response times are critical to the safety and well being of those in need. We are again pleased to report that our response times are well below national averages.

A key element to a successful fire service is the type and level of training. Fire personnel receive training and education in many ways and from a variety of sources. OFD members participated in 3,977 documented hours of training during the year. The fire service in general has evolved from an organization whose primary responsibility was fire suppression to an emergency services organization that provides fire suppression, fire prevention, fire code enforcement, fire investigation, fire inspection, plan review, emergency medical services, hazardous materials mitigation and specialized rescue operations. Training and preparation for all type of incidents has a distinct impact on operational outcomes.

During 2013 the department placed additional focus on specialized rescue operations including confined space, rope rescue, trench rescue and structural collapse. We obtained an enclosed trailer and some additional specialized rescue equipment to house within the trailer. This is an area we anticipate placing additional focus on in the future.

A significant component in our goal to minimize the risk of life and property loss from fire is conducting fire safety inspections. Inspections provide an opportunity to educate the owners or occupants of a building about fire safe behavior and the need for adequate fire and life safety conditions in the areas under their control. All facilities within the City are inspected on at least an annual basis. During 2013 the OFD conducted 611 inspections.

It is our strong belief when inspection programs are properly designed and put into practice, benefit is achieved through public education and awareness.

A significant amount of OFD resources are used for fire prevention activities. Fire prevention has the objective of reducing the risk from fires through incident reduction and control, and through the limitation of fire severity. During 2013, the OFD presented 132 fire and life safety education programs.

Through these programs the department had contact with 4871 members of the community, both children and adults. These education programs encompass a wide variety of topics to help educate the community about the risk of fire and ways to prevent them and reduce the severity of an incident. Included in these programs is an emphasis on the importance of having and maintaining an adequate number of smoke detectors. SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES. The OFD continues to offer a program providing free smoke detectors; installation is also available. During the year we either distributed and/or installed 159 smoke detectors.

We are pleased to present you with the Ottawa Fire Department’s (OFD’s) 2013 Annual Report. The hard work and dedication of the members are the reason for the successes we have achieved this year. The support we receive from the community is outstanding and we say thanks for helping towards reaching our goal of making Ottawa a safer place to live, work and visit.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster