KFD: Proactive, reactive and community-oriented
KINGMAN – In presenting highlights of the Kingman Fire Department annual report to City Council, Chief Jake Rhoades gave a brief snapshot of 2018 that included KFD’s reactive and proactive approaches to serving the community.
Chief Rhoades said reactive services include fire suppression, technical rescue, hazardous materials, domestic preparedness planning and response.
“This is usually when our bells go off, the alarm goes off, we’re very reactive to these,” Rhoades said. “And that’s an all-hazards approach to everything from fire and EMS, which we’re kind of known for, but also those disciplines of hazardous materials, tech rescue, even wildland and the 911 center.”
But being proactive is also important for a fire department, and the chief said KFD has that covered, too. Proactive efforts of the Kingman Fire Department include extensive training, community education, research and development, fire inspection and code enforcement.
Another way KFD is unique, Rhoades said, is because it’s community-driven. He said KFD prefers to develop their plan for service “almost backwards” in that they first contact the community to learn about its needs.
“What that means is we try to really solicit community input,” he said. “It’s very habitual in the fire service and in a lot of communities that they tell the people ‘Here’s what you want, here’s what you need.’ Well, we try to be the opposite.”
Rhoades then went into a bit more detail on the department’s 2019 Strategic Plan. He said it entails five major strategic initiatives including organization service improvement, professional development, employee safety, health and survival, community enhancement and leading the fire service.
Something else to consider is that the Kingman Fire Department, in addition to what one would expect from a fire department, is also in charge of the communications 911 center, and the Building and Life Safety Division.
“When we talk about just like any other department wearing multiple hats, we definitely wear multiple hats,” Rhoades said. “It makes it fun, it makes it dynamic, but it lets us do those things.”
Rhoades also noted areas in which KFD can improve. He said some critical issues are call volume, funding, compensation, staffing and infrastructure. He spoke to service gaps that included public education with risk groups and public feedback. Those issues are addressed in KFD’s five-year strategic goals.
Those goals, to name a few, are to improve response, an addition of Fire Station 5, infrastructure improvements, and modern training facilities.
He then jumped into data for 2018. Rhoades said total responses continue to increase and went from 7,511 in 2017 to 7,790 in 2018.
“For a four-station department, that’s significantly busy,” he said. “That’s over 21 calls a day.”
In speaking to incidents by district, Rhoades said the areas around Gordon Drive and Harrison Street see the most calls. Aside from the units in those areas, the chief said AMR is the third busiest unit. AMR responded to about 1,400 calls in 2018. Calls to which the department responds are about 84 percent medical-related, with fire response coming in at about 15 percent. That includes vehicle crashes.