Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:
Evanston firefighters responded to a record number of calls in 2016 including two extra alarm fires in April that occurred the same day, two hours apart. This was the highest volume since 1987, according to a report presented at last Monday’s city council meeting.
Calls for service totaled 10,267 in 2016, according to Evanston Fire Department Chief Brian Scott’s report and presentation. Of those, 62 percent, or 6,441, were for emergency medical services. More than 3,820 were for fire response.
That’s up from 9,630 calls in 2015, of which 5,994 were emergency medical service calls and 3,636 for fire responses.
The Evanston Fire Department employs 107 sworn firefighters and three civilian support staff. The department works out of five stations with five engines, two trucks, and three ambulances.
The number of calls for service has grown as Evanston’s population and Northwestern University’s student count has expanded, and as more events are held around the city, among other reasons, Deputy Chief Paul Polep said.
Scott boasted about the department’s average response time: three minutes and two seconds which is less than the national standard of four minutes. Scott credited that lower time with saving both lives and property, with an estimated savings of nearly $90 million in property in 2015 and $264 million in 2016.
“The fact that we had zero (fire) fatalities in 2016 we can attribute partly to the fact of those response times,” Scott said.
In 2016 the department extinguished 114 fires, up from 99 fires in 2015. Both years the department saved 98 percent of property involved.
For 2017, Scott plans to work with the telecommunications center to finish upgrading the computer aided dispatch system and fire incident reporting system. He hopes to implement emergency medical reporting and mapping software, improve and expand fire and life safety education programs for grade school kids, and recertify paramedics in advanced cardiac life support.