Firefighters here rolled out 606 times in 2017, in what Oberlin chief Bob Hanmer called “just a typical year.”
Calls rose by 11 over 2016, according to a recently-released annual report. About 517 of those occurred within our community, while 63 were in New Russia Township and 25 were mutual aid calls within Lorain County.
The average response time — from when the call was received until units arrived on scene — within the city was five minutes and 32 seconds. The overall average response time was six minutes and 24 seconds to Russia Township.
Calls for medical assistance topped the list for paramedics. They went on 82 of those calls, which dropped from 103 in 2016. There were also 32 motor vehicle crashes and 15 rescues from elevators.
Of the 50 fire-related responses, 16 involved structure fires. Ten occurred in our district, eight within the city, and three in New Russia Township.
Property loss due to fire was estimated to be $163,379 while the total estimated value saved was $3.7 million. Among these responses, there were three civilian injuries, no fatalities, and no injuries to fire personnel.
The number of structure fires has gone down in recent years. Hanmer said firefighters used to respond to 15 or 16 per year.
“One thing we’re noticing is that the fires we see are less damaging,” Hanmer said. “They are not as significant. They are usually confined to the object or the room.”
Part of the success is due to prevention programs by the Oberlin department. They include fire safety education, station tours, fire extinguisher training, school disaster drills, and tornado awareness.
The department also dispensed more than 700 free smoke detectors in the district.
Through these community outreach programs and advanced firefighter training, the department jumped from a Class 5 rating to an Class 3 rating. This places the Oberlin fire department in the top 9.5 percent of all departments nationwide.
The rating is determined by the insurance service office, which evaluates four primary categories of fire suppression: fire department, emergency communications, water supply, and community risk reduction.
Goals for 2018 include placing into service a new 3,000-gallon tanker by May and a new rescue pumper by the end of October. The tanker was purchased by New Russia Township and Oberlin College provided a portion of the cost for the pumper.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @HamameNews.