Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Annual fire figures stay steady

February 9, 2006

Although several springtime blazes devastated homes in Eudora last year, numbers from the annual end of the year report don't appear to be far from normal, Eudora Interim Fire Chief Mike Underwood said.

"I think we're on average," Underwood said.

From Jan. 1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2005, the Eudora City Fire Department received 79 total calls.

The majority of the calls, 37 percent, sent the volunteer firefighters to clean up hazardous conditions, such as gas leaks or fuel spills, Underwood said.

Only 23 percent, about 18 calls, came from actual fires.

"Most of our alarms occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 7 a.m.," Underwood said.

The time period keeps the fire department busy because that's when people are home from work and children are home from school, Underwood said.

Nearly a quarter of the calls received by the department represented good-intent situations.

During these calls, officers would talk to students, perform demonstrations or other works for the community, Underwood said.

About 5 percent of the officers' calls came for service functions.

An example of a service function would be if a firefighter helped a cat out from a tree, Underwood said.

According to final statistics, the department saw more action toward the end of the year than the beginning.

"Some weeks we're slow, and some weeks we're busy," Underwood said.

The busiest month was November.

During that month, firefighters were dispatched to situations accounting for 15 percent of the year's total call volume.

One possible explanation for the end of the year spike could be the onslaught of cold weather and the use of space heaters or incorrectly prepared chimneys, Underwood said.

The next busiest month came in July when firefighters worked about 10 calls.

Morale for the volunteer firefighters remains strong, despite being without a full-time fire chief for more than a year, Underwood said.

"This is what they love to do," Underwood said. "We're extremely proud to serve the city of Eudora.

The absence of a full-time chief was compounded when the department spent several months without two of its own personnel.

Tim Reazin and Jim Clarke each spent several months working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Gulf Coast cleaning up and repairing the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"I'm really proud of them for that," Underwood said.

Both Reazin and Clarke have since returned from their duty with FEMA.

"We're just moving forward and starting our training," Underwood said. "We've started that real successfully."

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