For the second year in a row, the Turlock Fire Department had another busy year, but that is not stopping them from making improvements.
According to the 2013 Turlock Fire Department Annual Report that was released Tuesday, emergency calls sharply increased from 5,542 in 2012 to 5,879 in 2013; this was an increase of 5.8 percent, and is now an increase of approximately 16 percent over the last four years.
The department is now fielding an average of 16.1 calls per day, up more than one call per day from 2012.
However, despite having the busiest year in department history, responders dropped the average response times another 3 seconds.
“Our average response time for 2013 was 5:00 minutes,” said Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman. “This response time has long been our goal and with the continued increase in call volume, I feel very fortunate that we were able to maintain this level of response.”
The average response time for 2013 was the lowest since 2009.
While having the steady increase in call volume, calls still remain predominantly emergency medical at 66 percent. Only 4 percent of calls in 2013 were for fires.
Despite the low percentage of fires, dollar loss due to fires greatly increased from 2012, a year that had seen the most dollar loss in five years. More than $6.3 million is estimated in loss for 2013 fires, up from $2.5 million in 2012.
“As in 2012, we did have one large fire with over $5 million loss that significantly contributed to the dollar loss in 2013,” said Lohman. “This is the third year in a row for a much higher dollar loss from fires and is a cause for concern.”
The $5 million dollar loss was due to the alleged arson at the former Lactalis USA building in February 2013, where three women allegedly set fire to the abandoned factory.
“We have a fundamental philosophy that we are here to serve the public and in their time of need, we are going to respond to the emergency, help mitigate the emergency, and then help in any other way we can,” said Lohman.
The 2013 Turlock Fire Department Annual Report will be made available online at the Turlock Fire Department website, http://www.turlock.ca.us/citydepartments/firedepartment/, in the coming weeks.