by Jon Lee/Deputy Chief/Scottsboro Fire Department
This annual report documents another successful 12 months for the department as we continue to strive to provide the best possible service for the citizens in our jurisdiction. Scottsboro continues to obtain a PPC rating of Class 3. This rating places Scottsboro in the top 10% of graded communities in Alabama and 11% nationally. This rating cannot only lower homeowner’s insurance rates but also helps make the community more enticing to prospective businesses.
The Scottsboro Fire Department upgraded all three frontline engines to new 2020 apparatus in September 2020. These identical engines make for ease of operation for all firefighters and decreases maintenance needs. All apparatus are attached to an exhaust removal system for the safety of our firefighters. Additionally, we put into service a fire boat in October 2020. Marine One has proven extremely beneficial as it has been used in several rescues and recoveries to date.
This fiscal year we were awarded a grant to develop a Firefighter Mental Health and Wellness program for our firefighters in the amount of $22,000. This grant allows us to bring in experts and provide resources for firefighters and their families in the event of traumatic stress and peer support for emotional well-being. Since 2014, we have received over $709,000 in grant funding. Our department will continue to aggressively pursue funding opportunities to improve our equipment and resources for our firefighters and community with as minimal impact on the city budget as possible.
Our administrative staff continues to maintain active roles in local, state and national organizations in order to better serve our community. Our core values are professionalism, integrity, accountability, honor and pride, and we make daily efforts to ensure this is the impression our citizens have of our department.
I would like to thank Mayor McCamy and City Council for their continued support. Without their dedication to the city of Scottsboro and the fire department, we would not be able to provide the quality service our citizens expect and deserve.
Incident responses and call volume:
With three firehouses and 36 certified personnel, we provide emergency response to approximately 100 square miles, including the fire jurisdiction. During the 2021 fiscal year, we responded to 2,393 calls for service including EMS, fire, vehicle collision and other emergencies, an average of 6-7 incidents each day. While this is a slight increase in call volume from the previous period, there was a reduction in the number of fires involved in a building or some part of a building or residence. Also, we are happy to report there were no fire-related deaths during this period. These are positive signs for our risk reduction efforts. We will continue to focus efforts on reducing the number of building fires and risks to our citizens.
Firehouse One, with a minimum staffing of four firefighters, answered 1,195 emergency calls. Firehouse Two, with a minimum staffing of two firefighters, answered 725 emergency calls. Firehouse Three, with a minimum staffing of two firefighters, answered 473 emergency calls. Firehouse One remains the busiest station, answering approximately 50% of all calls for service.
As typical with modern fire service, EMA and Rescue responses make up a majority of the SFD call volume. Of the 2,393 responses, 59% were EMS-related incidents, increasing to over 70% if including calls for medical-related citizen assistance calls. During the 12-month period, buildings with fire involvement were valued at $3,830,300 with a total estimated loss of $40,100, indicating $3,790,200 (or 99%) of real property savings.
Education and Training:
Each member of the Scottsboro Fire Department is involved in fire prevention efforts either through public education, performing in -person pre-fire planning for businesses, or installing smoke alarms for residents. Due to the impact of COVID, our department had a significant reduction in hours of community involvement and training. The continued support of local businesses, individuals and the National Fire Safety Council allowed us to provide fire safety and prevention materials to the community throughout quarantine restrictions.
Despite the effects of the pandemic, during the past 12 months, firefighters had obtained 24 certifications through the Alabama Fire College and over 7,000 hours of training during this period. Each EMT-licensed provider met classroom and skills requirements to retain their license, in total, 1,370 hours. Our firefighters continue to undergo annual complete physicals ensuring not only the health of our personnel but also our ability to provide effective services to those in need.
We continue to take every opportunity to reach out into the community. In recent years, the Scottsboro Fire Department joined with the American Red Cross Sound the Alarm Save A Life campaign to make families safer from home fires. Our firefighters install smoke alarms for any resident without working smoke alarms, free of charge. We have installed 127 smoke alarms in homes in our community since we began this campaign. Our members have embraced the opportunity to increase awareness for the importance of smoke alarms through contact during non-emergency incidents. Additionally, firefighters have completed proper car seat installation training through the Alabama Fire College and accurately inspect car safety seats for the public.