John Charles Robbins
Daily Journal Editor
The number of structure fires in the City of Rockingham in 2012 was nearly the same city firefighters dealt with the year before, according to the 2012 Annual Report of the Rockingham Fire Department.
City firefighters responded to 14 structure fires last year, compared with 16 in 2011, reported Fire Chief Charles Gardner.
The chief prepared the 24-page report and presented its details recently to the City Council.
Of the structure fires in 2012, three fires were due to cooking, four were electrical, two were arson, and two were heater or equipment related, Gardner said. Of the 14 structure fires, two were in commercial buildings and 12 were in residential dwellings.
In 2012, the average number of personnel on scene of a structure fire was 20, and the average response time was 3 minutes and 31 seconds.
“Last year was the first year we’ve used every piece of equipment we’ve got,” Gardner said.
The chief said the city fire department gets high marks whenever it’s evaluated, in large part for the impressive amount of firefighting equipment on hand. Gardner thanked City Manager Monty Crump and the City Council — “you all stepped up” when it was time to purchase necessary emergency equipment over the years, he said.
Mayor Pro Tem John Hutchinson turned attention back to Gardner, saying he was being modest. Hutchinson said it was Gardner who worked hard to get grant money to purchase a new fire truck. The effort was a success “and the only cost we have in it (the truck) is the paint,” said Hutchinson.
Hutchinson also commended Gardner for the thorough training programs the firefighters take part in each year.
The fire department is “an asset for Rockingham,” Hutchinson said.
“I appreciate it,” Gardner responded.
The report shows total hours of training for full-time personnel were 9,247.50 hours, which resulted in an average of 628.5 hours per man. In addition, the part-time personnel had 1,260.5 hours and averaged 114.55 hours training per member.
The department’s fire inspection program conducted 754 fire inspections in 2012, the report shows. At this time the department has six certified fire inspectors. In addition, the department conducted 156 inspections during the year on city-owned buildings.
“This is a monthly ongoing part of the city’s safety program,” said Gardner.
During 2012, the department conducted 72 fire prevention programs. The number of hours spent on the programs was 171 hours which reached 8,618 participants and 18 organizations.
The fire department installed 110 child car seats during 2012. FirstHealth provided 21 seats, and with the help of grant funds the department was able to provide an additional 33 seats to those who had a need.
Editor John Charles Robbins can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 13, or by email at email@example.com.