By Tameka Kenan-Norman, City of Rocky Mount NC
When your mission is “to serve the city of Rocky Mount by protecting lives and property through quality and excellence in service,” then it is vital to have measurable statistics that prove you not only believe in that mission, but strive to achieve it. The Rocky Mount Fire Department’s 2016 statistics show they work diligently every day to achieve their mission.
“We take our mission to heart by delivering excellent customer service, which is evident by our measured performance,” said Fire Chief Mike Varnell.
Partnering with the community is critical to the department’s success. During 2016, the department assisted Nash-Rocky Mount Public School administrators with the planning of a two-story training facility at Rocky Mount High School and donated a surplus 1989 Fire engine to the school for use in their Firefighter Certification Program.
Said Kai-yon Silver, a junior at Rocky Mount High School enrolled in the program:
“A lot of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears went into getting this truck for us. I am so thankful we have this. This is going to help us and the kids who are getting into the academy for years to come.”
Partnering with Down East Partnership for Children, Need, Inc., OIC and Your Choice Resource Center, the department assisted some of the most vulnerable residents in the community with help from a $15,000 Buckle Up for Life Grant. The grant was used to purchase infant and child car seats, along with car seat installation and education from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Toyota. While the grant cycle does not conclude until June 2017, the department has already taught five classes and distributed 97 child passenger safety seats funded by the grant, in addition to the 250 annual seat installations.
Said Kim Wittig, Fire and Life Safety educator for the Rocky Mount Fire Department:
“The education piece has been key to the program’s success, and our partner agencies have been wonderful to work with. Through this grant, we have been able to assist many families with much needed education and provide car seats for their children to be transported safely.”
For firefighters, helping people and saving lives is why they do what they do every day. In 2016, the department responded to 8,616 calls that were emergency medical or rescue related, and of those calls, 77 were residents in cardiac arrest, meaning their hearts had stopped beating. Because of the quick response and highly skilled actions taken by fire department personnel, 19.5 percent of the cardiac arrest victims had a pulse and were breathing when they left the scene. That save percentage is up 13.5 percentage points from 2014.
“We devote a lot of time and energy to training our staff and the public in emergency medical care. Over the past three years, we have taught CPR to over 5,000 citizens in our community and have seen a significant increase in the cardiac arrest rate of pulse on transfer,” said Varnell. “This quality of service delivery has a phenomenal impact on our community.”
Protecting lives and property is not just a part of the department’s mission; it speaks to the very of core of what the department does in and for the community. Firefighters responded to 354 fires in 2016. They out-performed their own benchmark of 90 percent for percentage of property saved by saving 97 percent, totaling more than $53 million in property saved. That is the highest percentage of property saved in the last nine years.
Serving the community by helping people and protecting property; the 2016 statistics prove the Rocky Mount Fire Department stays true to its mission.