2017 marked the busiest year in Scottsbluff Fire Department’s history, with firefighters responding to 2,164 calls for service within the community.
Scottsbluff Fire Department Captain Justin Houstoun says crews responded to 26 structure fires, with a combined property value of $4.2 million. Due to quick response times, well trained staff and modern equipment, firefighters were able to save $4 million- or 96%- of the property involved. Houstoun says this is a tremendous credit to the firefighters protecting this community 24 hours a day.
He also says training is paramount in ensuring firefighters are providing the best service available to the citizens of Scottsbluff. In 2017, firefighters participated in 2,006 hours of training. Some of the topics covered in these trainings were EMS, Fire attack, extrication, dive rescue, hazardous materials and rope rescue.
In order to keep citizens safe, the Fire Department concentrates heavily on fire prevention and public education activities throughout the year. During 2017, firefighters conducted fire prevention and public education for 3054 children and 655 adults. Firefighters spoke with students at every elementary school in the city as well as numerous daycares, youth groups and other organizations.
Houstoun adds that in order to deliver the highest level of service to the community, it is imperative that the fire department has modern and efficient apparatus.
In 2017, the fire department took possession of a custom built Rescue truck. This truck was funded with a $300,000 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant. This grant was awarded as a 95/5% cost share to the city. The City of Scottsbluff ended up paying $14,285 for the $300,000 Rescue truck.
He says the new Rescue is a dual purpose vehicle that will be replacing the current Rescue 1, a 1999 Ford F450, as well as their Heavy Rescue, a 1989 Ford F350.
Houstoun says while both of these vehicles have served the community well, they have reached the end of their lives and are not able to meet the demands of the department anymore.
The new Rescue was custom built to meet the current demands of the department as well as for future growth. The Rescue will carry a full complement of emergency medical equipment, extrication equipment for motor vehicle accidents, as well as rope rescue, water rescue and trench rescue equipment.
This apparatus will ensure that firefighters are able to respond quickly and safely to all emergencies within the city for many years to come. The new Rescue will be placed in service and responding to calls in early January.