PLATTSMOUTH – In terms of protecting lives and property, 2018 was a very good year for Plattsmouth Volunteer Fire Department.
Fire Chief Mike Wilson shared some of those successes when he presented the department’s 2018 year-end report to city council Jan. 7.
First and foremost, Plattsmouth firefighters responded to 225 incidents in 2018. Calls within the city of Plattsmouth totaled 148 with another 77 rural calls.
Wilson: “It’s the highest call volume we’ve seen in four years.”
The average number of firefighters responding to each incident was 11, and responders averaged 4 minutes in service time for each call.
Wilson: “This is calculated from the time of page until a unit is responding to the scene. This time also includes ‘non-emergency’ response status.”
The fire chief was especially pleased with the 13:51-minute average response time.
Wilson: “This is a four-year low and a 1 minute, 19 second decrease from last year’s time.”
The average time for responders to be on the scene was 37:49 minutes.
Wilson: “The four-year average time is 46 minutes. This year’s on-scene time is a four-year low.”
Last year, however, proved challenging as the department responded to 17 structure fires. An average of 18 firefighters responded to the fires and spent an average of 2 hours and 43 minutes on the scene.
In addition to structure fires, an average of 18 volunteers also responded to each motor vehicle accident they were called to. Their response time averaged 10 minutes and 31 seconds. They stayed an average of 26 minutes and 45 seconds on each call.
Wilson said an average of five members responded each time to a total of 41 Emergency Medical Services assists.
Wilson: “Usually there are two EMS staff on a call and we average five firefighters responding.”
Members also responded to 13 mutual aid requests including one to Pacific Unction, Iowa. Other communities requesting mutual aid included Louisville, Murray, Weeping Water and Cedar Creek.
The Plattsmouth department also requested mutual aid 14 times from agencies including Offutt Air Force Base, Louisville, Murray, Weeping Water, Union, Nehawka, Ralston, Bellevue and Pacific Junction.
Wilson: “Given the 11-member per call average along with the average duration of 38 minutes per call, our members spent roughly 1,567 total man hours on calls alone in 2018. This total does not include trainings, meetings, department and community functions, day-to-day operations and maintenance issues that arise.”
Wilson added that the department responded to two very long duration incidents in 2018 as well.
Wilson: “One was a large wildland fire in Schilling Wildlife Refuge, which took eight hours, and the other was an apartment fire within the city which took six hours.”
The department includes 47 members including officers, volunteers and support staff.
In addition to Wilson as fire chief, Bill Dudek is 1st Assistant Chief and Brian Wuelling is 2nd Assistant Chief.
Other officers are Leroy Lewis, fire captain; Craig Shrimpton, fire lieutenant; John Hardy, fire captain; Drew Wampler, fire lieutenant; Kenny Dillon, safety officer; and Keith Dovenbarger, safety officer.
Wilson: “All in all 2018 was a very successful year. We appreciate all the support we receive through our governing boards and the public we serve. We are dedicated to respond with our best each time we are called out and do our best to represent the department and our governing bodies to the best of our ability. We are looking forward to a successful 2019.”
Following the report, Mayor Paul Lambert complimented the department on its safety record.
Lambert: “it’s obvious you train your volunteers well.”
Plans are being considered for replacing some of the department’s equipment including the pumper.
Wilson: “We have an eight-year capital projection.”