More than half of 2013 calls to Fire and Emergency Services were EMS calls

Last year Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services personnel responded to just over 12 calls per day, more than half of them medical calls.

The department’s Calls For Service Report for 2013 shows a total of 4,430 calls, or 12.25 per day. That figure was slightly above the 2012 total of 4,392 calls, an average of 11.9 per day.

“There was not a great deal of difference in the number of calls and a majority of them were medical calls,” Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell said Friday.

The report showed 2,584 EMS calls in 2013, or 58.33 percent of the department’s total calls. That compared to 2,373 EMS calls in 2012, or 54.03 percent of the department’s total calls.

In addition, there were 239 motor vehicle accidents with injuries, six fewer than in 2012.

While medical calls were up, fire calls were down — something Howell was pleased with.

“We want to see that number go down every year and a lot of that has to do with our prevention efforts such as free smoke alarms and educational programs in the schools,” Howell said.

Last year, there were 134 structure fires reported. That accounted for just over 3 percent of the department’s total calls. The number was 19 fewer than in 2012 when there were 153 structure fires.

According to a separate part of the report, there were 37 structure fires in Ward 1, 27 in Ward 2, 28 in Ward 3 and 42 in Ward 4 last year.

Vehicle fires and brush/grass/rubbish fires also decreased last year when compared to 2012.

Specifically, there were 80 vehicle fires in 2013, four less than 2012 and 154 brush/grass/rubbish fires last year, compared to 266 in 2012.

Department personnel responded to 292 fire alarms last year, three more than in 2012, and the number of false alarms increased from 80 in 2012 to 93 last year.

“Those numbers are going to vary from year to year because there are more and more homes and businesses that are installing fire alarms,” Howell said.

This year he said the department plans to continue its prevention efforts and plans to place additional emphasis on the medical side, specifically with information about things like high blood pressure.

“Anything we can do to help inform the public and to bring our call numbers down, we’re going to try and do,” he said.