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Where Does The Fire Department Go When The Fire Alarm Sounds?

NVFD members logged more than five thousand hours this year

 

By Jonathan Barbagallo

As the Norfolk Volunteer Fire Department (NVFD) prepares to elect its new officers at the end of August, it is the perfect time to review the types of calls to which we have responded over the last fiscal year.

In total, we responded to 131 calls for service, with the most frequent being 25 automatic fire alarms, 17 motor vehicle crashes, and 13 burned food incidents.  The important message to be shared here is to avoid distractions while cooking or driving and to clean and maintain your fire alarm system annually.

At 10 calls each, the NVFD responded to building fires and medical assists with Norfolk Lions Club Ambulance.  While 10 building fires may seem like a lot for our little town, these include small incidents that were quickly extinguished, as well as responding to our neighboring towns.

With nine calls for wires down or on fire, eight calls for station coverage for our mutual aid partners and seven calls for search and rescue with our ropes team, The search and rescue calls are typically our longest in terms of time they take to resolve. They typically take three hours or more from the time we leave until we back in service.  Thankfully, this is balanced out by the eight calls that were cancelled while we were still enroute.

Carbon monoxide emergencies and chimney fires/furnace malfunctions were few this year, at three calls each. As a reminder, it is a good idea to have your chimney cleaned annually, especially if you burn a lot of wood during the winter season. It is quicker and safer for everyone involved to have a chimney sweep on your roof rather than our volunteers up there at midnight in a snow storm!

Finishing up our yearly review, we responded to two calls for trees blocking the road as well as the troublesome dumpster/dust collector fires and even two calls where nothing was found when we arrived. And finally, we assisted our state troopers with a police matter, responded to one car fire, and responded back to the scene of a house fire for a rekindle of debris.

While 131 calls may not seem like many (at less than three calls per week), it does take a lot of man hours to perform our duties.  As part of our accountability system, we can track the number of hours spent at each of these calls, training sessions and community service events: 1,982.25 staff hours from dispatch to incident completion on 131 calls for service; 1,790.41 staff hours of non-incident departmental activities,  e.g. fundraisers, meetings, etc.; 1,503.75 staff hours of training, drill nights, refresher classes, etc., for a grand total of 5,276.41 total recorded staff hours logged by NVFD personnel in 2016-2017.

We believe these numbers start to give an accurate depiction of what our membership donates back to our community each year and how devastating it would be in terms of cost to Norfolk if we didn’t continue to volunteer. Thankfully, we welcomed  four new members to our ranks and we continue to have a strong youth membership as part of our explorer program that has been ongoing for 33 years.  If you have a desire to help and are at least 14 years old, we have a role for you in our department!

We are grateful to the citizens of Norfolk for supporting our mission; whether it is by financial donations, at a budget referendum or as a silent prayer for protection as we go by with our lights and sirens to our next call.    (continued)….

The writer, Jonathan Barbagallo, is NVFD’s public information officer and second assistant chief. He also took the photo, top, of NVFD personnel performing a drill along Winchester Road.

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