DeKalb Fire Department service requests down in 2017
DeKALB – For the first time since 2013, overall requests for services from the DeKalb Fire Department decreased in 2017, according to an annual report presented by DeKalb Deputy Fire Chief Jeff McMaster on Monday at a special DeKalb City Council Committee of the Whole meting.
Overall, the number of service calls went from 5,584 in 2016 to 5,573 in 2017. While emergency medical service requests increased slightly from 3,810 to 3,831, 2017 had a strong drop in motor vehicle accidents from 328 to 291 and false alarms from 520 to 481.
Fire incidents also decreased from 148 in 2016 to 138 in 2017, which McMaster attributed to continued education and inspection efforts.
“Not only do we respond to the emergency incidents, but we want to prevent these from happening through education,” McMaster said.
DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks said in the department’s 2017 report that fire personnel attended 95 different events, providing fire safety education to more than 6,300 participants. A total of 2,313 were also conducted by personnel and found about 6,000 safety violations.
Another highlight from 2017 was the department Insurance Service Office improvement from Class 4 to Class 2. Insurance companies use these ratings to help establish fair premiums for homeowner and commercial fire insurance on properties located within 5 miles of a DeKalb fire station.
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith said the city made some of the easier cuts to the fire department this fiscal year, such as certain training and equipment reductions, but the unbelievable pension obligations must be dealt with at some point.
“I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it’s just a continual albatross around our collective necks and we’ve got to get a handle of that somehow,” Smith said.