Fire chief issues 2019 department report

FLINT TWP. — The Flint Township Fire Department responded to 898 incidents in 2019, averaging 74.8 incidents monthly, 17.3 incidents weekly and 2.5 runs a day.

That was the summary of fire calls in Fire Chief Thomas Statler’s annual report to the Board of Trustees at the Feb. 18 regular meeting of the board.

Statler said the types of calls the department responds to include structure fires, vehicle fires and extrications, fire alarms (business and residential), police and EMS assistance, hazardous material calls, confined space rescue, wires down/arcing, carbon monoxide alarms and public assists.

“The average response time during 2019, from our two stations located on either Flushing Road (Fire Station #2) or Bristol Road (Fire Station #3), was 6.22 minutes,” said Statler.

In 2019, the chief said his department hired three new full-time firefighters and two on-call firefighters. Current staffing, he said, is at 28 with a staff comprised of 10 full-time officers covering the two fire stations seven day a week, 24 hours a day.

When staffing allows, the chief said Fire Station #1 on Reuben Street is staffed 24 hours a day with two captains and eight sergeants. Fire Station #1 is staffed by a fire chief, assistant fire chief, and a full-time administrative assistant (non-fire trained) from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Statler said the department currently has 16 on-call (part-time) firefighters, on a paging system dispatched through Genesee County 911. There are two full-time firefighters on leave with injuries, and another full-time firefighter was lost due to disability retirement in January.

In 2019, the Fire Department billed insurance companies, Consumers Energy, and nonresidents for incidents; recovering $18,100 through the Cost Recovery Ordinance. This is up from 2018 where we recovered $12,900, according to the report.

Statler said the department was awarded a grant from The Hundred Club of Genesee, Shiawassee, and Lapeer counties totaling $2,250. This grant was used to purchase firefighting gloves.

The department ordered a new pumper fire truck from Sutphen Corporation in November, said Statler. He said he expects delivery in late 2020 or early 2021. This pumper will replace Engine 21 as the department’s primary unit. Engine 21 will take the place of Engine 22, a 24-year-old fire truck, as the back-up to the primary unit for the department

In 2019, Statler said the department purchased new Hurst Battery-Powered Rescue Tools

“Extrication tools are vital for the rescue of entrapped occupants of vehicle accidents, entanglement in machinery, as well as forcible entry into buildings,” said Statler in the report. “This new equipment replaced some of our tools that were purchased in the 1980’s. Through extensive testing, we found that the capabilities and versatility of these Hurst Battery- Powered Tools would greatly enhance our rescue efforts.”

Since putting this equipment into service, Statler said his department’s expectations have been proven with the speed and efficiency these tools have provided being a direct benefit to those trapped

In the report, Statler said each year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires fire departments to test fire hose. In 2019, the Flint Township Fire Department tested 118 lengths (5,900 ft.) of 1 ¾” hose with 1 length failed; 132 lengths (6,600 ft.) of 2 ½” hose with no failures; and 37 lengths (3,700 ft.) of 4” hose with 1 length failed.

Total hose tested was 287 lengths or 16,200 feet (3.0682 miles). As hose testing is very labor intensive, we used 150 man-hours for completion.

The report also highlighted building upgrades and improvements to all three Flint Township fire stations, hydrant repair and maintenance, fire inspections of businesses and new construction, fire prevention, efforts (school visits and 51 public events) and fire investigations (19 fires were full investigations, including six fires intentionally set).

Additionally, the report also featured a look at other aspects of the fire department, noting the passing of former fire Chief Donald Rowley. On Sept. 21, Rowley’s name was placed on the Memorial Wall at the Michigan State Firemen’s Memorial in Roscommon. Chief Rowley served the Fire Department for more than 35 years.

Department personnel attended the Michigan State Firemen’s Association Memorial Service, Genesee County Fire Fighter Memorial Service, the Carman- Ainsworth Homecoming Parade, and delivered Santa to the Genesee Valley Mall. Department personnel also participated in “National Night Out”, “Trunk or Treat” at Halloween and “Shop with a Hero” at Christmas time, the report said.

Flint Township Firefighters, with the assistance of Flint Township Police officers and family members participated in “Ringing the Bell” and “Filling the Fire Truck” for the Salvation Army at the Corunna Road Walmart before Christmas; 800 items including toys and coats were collected, as well as, $4,200.44.

The Flint Township Fire Fighter’s Association sponsored a free Thanksgiving meal for approximately 100 Seniors at the Flint Township Carman Ainsworth Senior Center at Thanksgiving. Department members also assisted with food service.