Role of fire department continues to evolve

The Natchitoches Fire Department doesn’t just extinguish flames. The type of calls the department responds to has broadened over the years to include a variety of fire, medical and other specialty services.

“We’ve become more of a public safety oriented department,” said Fire Chief John Wynn. “We do everything.”

Wynn has been with the NFD for 23 years, while simultaneously working part time with the Natchitoches Regional medical Center’s ambulance service. Wynn said fire prevention and construction materials are getting better. Houses are built more in line with fire safety codes and regulations.

“We’d rather prevent a fire then go out and work one,” he said.

While this might decrease the number of fire calls the NFD responds to, the volume of medical calls increases every year. Wynn said this is one reason why the NFD fosters a good relationship with Dr. Marcus Stokes, Medical Director for the Dept. of Emergency Medicine at the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center and Larry Atteridge, EMS Director for the NRMC. Together they work make their policies and procedures consistent across department lines.

But the calls the NFD responds to are not all it accomplishes in its day to day operations. The NFD also performs fire education classes for the schools including fire station tours, performs fire inspections for businesses inside the city limits, performs daily training schedule (4 hours per day), and many other tasks that may arise.

Training takes up a lot of time, from the daily training at the department, to specialty training for the Haz Mat, Dive, and Urban Search and Rescue teams. Firefighters are also required to get their EMT certifications.

The service area isn’t always contained within the City limits. Some calls the NFD responds to are in other areas of the parish. They even travelled to Florida last year to assist with search and rescue.

It takes a lot to keep the general public safe. People are often asleep while firefighters are out all night running calls, away from their own families. However, they do it all with the help of a good support system at home and the support they receive from the Natchitoches community.

May Calls:

3 Building Fires
2 Other Fires
1 Passenger Vehicle Fires
1 Natural Vegetation Fires
1 Forest, woods or wild land fire
2 Brush Fires
2 Grass Fires
5 Assist Medical Crew
1 Other EMS
118 EMS only
13 Motor Vehicle Accident/Injury
4 Motor Vehicle Accident/ No Injury
1 Hazardous Condition
3 Gas Leak
1 Arcing Shorted Electrical Equip
1 Service Call
2 Smoke Odor removal
21 False Alarms

Total: 182

June Calls:

1 Mobile Property Fire
1 Passenger Vehicle Fires
1 Forest, woods or wild land fire
1 Brush Fires
1 Rescue/EMS
4 Assist Medical Crew
2 Other EMS
129 EMS only
10 Motor Vehicle Accident/Injury
1 Motor Vehicle Accident/Pedestrian
1 Lock In
1 Water Rescue
1 Hazardous Condition
2 Gas Leak
1 Electrical Wiring Problems
1 Overheated Motor
2 Power Line Down
1 Arcing Shorted Electrical Equip
1 Illegal Burning
2 Service Call
1 Water/Steam Leak
1 Smoke Odor removal
1 Cancelled Enroute
19 False Alarms

Total: 186

One thought on “Role of fire department continues to evolve

  1. Although we are asleep at night, we sleep better knowing our fire dept is out there protecting us if the need should arise. Thank you for you do.

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