One Wiregrass fire department was busy in 2019 but it wasn't all about responding to fires.
Slocomb Fire and Rescue is a well-rounded department.....
"Well the fire department is kind of, we look at it as all hazardous type department. we don't just respond to fires," Operations Chief, Kyle Hovey said.
As a combination fire department -
paid on duty staff stays overnight at the station to respond to calls and volunteers are called in to assist.
"Fighting fire is very labor intensive and we rely heavily on our volunteers to back up our paid staff. each year we have been experiencing a growth in the number of calls," Hovey said.
In 2019 Slocomb Fire and Rescue received 2,200 calls which is 100 more calls than last year which is 7 calls a day.
"So it's always a challenge to recruit those folks and our particular situation were proud that we do have folks in the community that are willing to give their time cause its extremely important cause without them we just couldn't do it," Hovey said.
Of those calls.... 946 were medical related, 912 were patient transports, 103 vehicle transports and 81 fire related calls.
Averaging 5 to 7 minutes to respond each time......
"The response times are very important because the fire doubles in size every minute especially with this new construction of houses. So it important for us to be able to get their quickly and having people here at the station really makes the difference," Hovey said.
Training is also important - in Slocomb it's done with their live fire training room and fire tower where they are able to simulate real-life situations.
"Having those facilities allows for the area departments to come in and train on it on actual hands on experience that you otherwise wouldn't be able to receive," Hovey said.
With 32 employees, made up mostly of volunteers and only 4 full time personnel they are still able to maintain an ISO rating of 2.
"It's really huge we were able to secure that ISO class 2 there's not many of those throughout the united states at all so for us to have it were very fortunate to have a rating that low," Hovey said.
Last year the citizens of Slocomb passed a fire protection district fee to help make sure there is staff available at all times.