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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Fire Department Annual Report highlights

Children at St. Thomas school learn about fire trucks and fire safety.


by Robin Gee

Fire Chief Mark Bailey presented the Fort Thomas Fire Department Annual Report for 2016 at the April City Council meeting. After expressing deep gratitude for his relationships with city officials and staff, he opened with praise for the men and women of the fire department, some of whom attended to hear his presentation. 

"I have 18 of the best firefighters and EMS in northern Kentucky, no doubt, hands down, they do it day in and day out. They are the best," Bailey said.  

Here are some highlights from the Fire Department Annual Report, which is available on the Fire Department website. 

The year in review

The number of runs the Fire Department handled for 2016 was down slightly from the year before. The department went on 1,768 runs in 2016 compared to 1,942 in 2015.
The annual report gives a detailed summary of fire and EMS service each month including the number of responses, drills and staff hours. In addition to responding to calls, the fire service provides safety education throughout the community and participates in a number of trainings each year. 

A few highlights of activities include:
  • received in-house self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) training
  • participated with the Campbell County Office of Emergency Management and area schools in National Emergency Preparedness Month
  • joined with Girl Scouts to promote Safety Awareness and Community Service
  • Placed automated external defibrillator (AED) devices in area parks as well as Winkler Field. 
  • participated in an active shooter scenario for Swift Assisted Victim Extraction (SAVE) training at Highlands High School gave two presentations to third graders at Ruth Moyer school
  • honored two long-time employees as they retired in July: Capt. Jeff Parker (25 years) and Lt. Steve Rath (22 years)
  • participated in Fire Prevention public education activities
  • received EMS training in infectious diseases and sepsis

Emergency responders participate in a mass casualty event at Highlands High.

Stretching resources

The Fire Department actively pursues additional funding available through grants from state, federal and private foundations. In 2016, the department received $1,250 for EMS supplies through a state Community Improvement Grant Program. 

A FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant of $130,000 grant purchased new air packs for self-contained breathing apparatus or SCBAs. The air packs replace expired and nearly expired air packs that play a vital role in the safety of firefighters working in hazardous conditions.  

Public safety education

From kindergartners to senior citizens, Fort Thomas residents received fire prevention and safety education throughout the year from Fire Department personnel. In 2016, the Fire Department provided education to 2,336 people in our community.

This year, the department focused on modernizing public presentations, replacing outdated videos with DVDs and adding new customized giveaways such as stickers, hats, pencils and wrist bands. 

Personnel visited all schools in Fort Thomas with a special emphasis on students in kindergarten through third grade, and in return students toured the fire station regularly. Firefighters/paramedics were on hand at several community events including a senior citizen wellness fair hosted by the Campbell County YMCA, the Pumpkin Walk, Holiday Walk and Touch-a-Truck events.  

About 860 students learned kitchen safety, trauma prevention and emergency preparedness through the use of the Campbell County Fire Protection Association’s Fire Safety mobile house trailer.  

With Cincinnati Red Cross assistance and funding, fire department members participated in a program to provide all residents with smoke detectors.  

Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Rust worked with the Highlands High School Film and Production class to create a video reminder for people to check their smoke detector batteries. The public service announcement video was shown on the Highlands High School scoreboard during a fall home game.  

Firefighter/Paramedic Chris Wulfeck provided CPR training to 200 seventh and eighth grade students at Highlands Middle School and an additional 150 community members this year.

Extensive training

Firefighters practice forced entry techniques.

Kentucky requires all career firefighters to obtain 100 hours of training annually. The Fort Thomas Fire Department averages 158 training hours per person. Firefighters and Paramedics receive training updates on existing skills as well as new techniques and equipment. 

A chart included in the annual report shows that training was spread across 19 different skill categories. The largest training categories included emergency medical care, pre-planning and inspection training, drivers and pump operations, and fire officer training. 

In 2016 Fire Department personnel trained with the Police Department in the Swift Assisted Victim Extraction or SAVE program. This day-and-a-half training at Highlands High School included techniques and scenarios personnel might encounter during a mass casualty incident.

Emergency Medical Services 

In 2016, EMS responded to 1,225 calls for help. A category breakdown shows the largest categories included falls, medical emergencies, respiratory problems, chest pain and cardiac problems, but 26 percent fell into the "unspecified category." Unspecified covers any emergency not covered in other areas. 

A chart in the report shows a patient age breakdown with the majority of calls for patients over age 76 (41 percent of calls) and 33.2 percent of calls for those between 51 and 75 years old. 

Training for EMT personnel is ongoing. The Fort Thomas Fire Department personnel exceed required training hours. Advanced degrees are not required by the state and only 10 percent of professional firefighters nationally have advanced degrees. Yet in Fort Thomas, more than 60 percent in the department have advanced degrees. 

Response statistics

The Fort Thomas Fire Department gathers data on its responses and provides charts and graphs for comparison to other years as well as analysis to identify trends and future needs. 

The annual report includes data on incident type, time of year each occurred, day of the week, time of day, incident volume, mutual aid runs to other municipalities and property loss trends. 

Mayor Eric Haas shows off his special fire and police badges,
gifts to council from Fort Thomas Fire and Police Departments

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