JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – More fires in occurred in Jonesboro in 2012 compared to 2011, but fire deaths decreased.
According to the Jonesboro Fire Department's 2012 Year End Report, firefighters responded to 3,853 incidents in 2012, up from 3,281 in 2011. Six hundred forty-one of the incidents were fire runs in 2012, up from 537 fire runs in 2011.
There were no fire fatalities in 2012, down from four in 2011.
"2011 we had four fire fatalities all in one incident," said Assistant Fire Chief Alan Dunn.
In the past several years JFD has opened four new stations in locations Chief Dunn says are heavily populated areas of the city.
"(To decide where to build stations) we looked at where the population was in the city of Jonesboro, and those stations were located in the area where the greatest population is."
Building new stations is one of several things implemented by the department to increase safety measures.
"We do public safety education programs. We go into the schools. Schools come to the fire station and visit and learn fire safety principles," Assistant Chief Dunn said. "We have a smoke alarm program here in the City of Jonesboro. If somebody needs a smoke alarm in their home, we will go out and install it for them."
Also in the report, 96.3% of dispatch calls were responded to in eight minutes or less, in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards, 87.3% of calls were responded to in six minutes or less and 60.2% of calls were responded to in four minutes or less.
"When we can get more people to the scene quicker, then obviously you're going to have less damage. You'll have hopefully fewer fatalities.
Assistant Chief Dunn says the improved response times and decrease in fatalities will help maintain the city's ISO rating.
"Currently Jonesboro has a Class 3 rating, which is pretty good. Class 1 being the best, 10 being the worst."
A good ISO rating leads to less expensive insurance for residents and business owners and continued efforts to improve fire protection for the city of Jonesboro.
"If we can have all of our trucks there, all of our manpower there in eight minutes or less, then we've met that goal. There are still parts of the city that we're unable to do that, but there are parts of the city that we can do that."