Purdy FPD responds to record number of calls

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Purdy Fire Protection District volunteers responded to a record number of emergency incidents last year. According to a report provided by Chief Mike Redshaw, the district responded to 249 calls for service in 2012.

"The exceptionally dry and windy conditions this year caused a dangerous situation," said Redshaw. "Sparks from machinery that normally wouldn't start a fire or a fire small enough that the operator could contain it rapidly grew due to how dry everything was.

"We also saw a number of fires started by other fires, such as folks burning trash or brush piles," added Redshaw.

The fire district responded to 53 calls for fire-related incidents. Fire calls accounted for a little over 21 percent of the total requests for assistance last year.

The district responded to 34 grass or wild land fires, 14 structure fires, five vehicle fires and one fire that was classified as other. A total of 745 acres of land burned within the district in 2012.

In addition to fire calls, the district responded to 126 emergency medical incidents. Of those calls, 106 were medical responses and ambulance assists and 20 were motor vehicle crashes. Over 50 percent of the district's calls were for emergency medical assistance.

The remaining 22.89 percent of the district's call volume was for general service, including landing zones for aircraft, electrical investigations, assisting other agencies and incidents where assistance was canceled.

Firefighters established 26 landing zones during the course of the year, including nine that were canceled due to the ambulance service opting for another location or canceling the helicopter.

Only three false alarms and weather incidents were recorded last year.

The district received mutual aid from neighboring fire districts on over 30 occasions last year. Agencies providing mutual aid for the Purdy District included: the Aurora Fire Department, two; the Butterfield Fire Protection Distrct, seven; the Cassville Fire Protection District, three; the Jenkins Fire Protection District, three; the Monett City Fire Department, six; Monett Rural Fire Association, four; the Pierce City Fire Department, one; the Pierce City Rural Fire Department, two; and the Wheaton Fire Department, five.

The Purdy Fire District provided mutual aid assistance for the Butterfield Fire Protection District on four occasions. Other agencies that received assistance from Purdy were: the Jenkins Fire Protection District, one; the City of Monett Fire Department, one; and the Wheaton Fire Department, two.

"I think seeing an increase in our usage of mutual aid and our neighbors utilizing us for mutual aid is great," said Redshaw. "I would like to see more aiding our neighbors and eventually utilizing each other automatically rather than by request, and I think this is an indication that we're getting to that point.

"When we have an automatic aid partner, they are dispatched at the same time we are," continued Redshaw. "That decreases their response time and ISO allows us to count their equipment and personnel, and vice versa, as if it was arriving at the same time we are instead of taking into account travel time."

Last year, the Purdy Fire Protection District was able to purchase land at the intersection of Highway C and Farm Road 1120, which will become the location of the district's second fire station. The land has already been cleared of trees and a culvert has been placed along the highway.

"The board is currently looking at what size of station we need to build and how to best accomplish going about the construction process," said Redshaw. "The plan is to make substantial progress toward getting it built this year. The next task will be determining how to obtain the equipment and apparatus for the station, which can become costly and may take some time to complete."

The location for the new station was selected because it is halfway between Purdy and McDowell and allows the entire eastern portion of the district to be encompassed by the five-mile radius required by ISO for reduction of classification of property, said Redshaw. Homes, structures and land located outside the five-mile radius is classified as a 10 due to ISO's perceived lack of protection.

The Purdy Fire District has acquired one 6,000-gallon tanker truck that will be used at the new fire station. The truck, which was obtained through the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Forestry Department's Firefighter Property Program, is equipped with a pump.

The Purdy Fire Protection District Board of Directors meets at the fire station located at 102 West Washington in Purdy at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month. The meeting is open to the public.

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