JONESBORO, AR - When you pull aside for a fire truck you generally assume they are going to a fire somewhere... But more and more, demands are changing for the Jonesboro Fire Department.
"The status of the Jonesboro Fire Department right now is great."
That statement from Chief Aaron Keller pretty much sums up of the feeling of the department in Jonesboro. This year has seen changes and growth taking place in the department that can only lead to an improvement in both the department it self and it's service and commitment to the community.
Keller says "In the last year we've started two new fire stations we've started stations 3 and 7, 7 being the additional station and three being relocated.We've hired fifteen additional personnel to man station seven and added two personnel to the Fire Marshals office."
One of the big things that gives the Jonesboro Fire Department it's edge is training, constant training, and this year they've added a whole bunch of things to their training regimen.
Assistant Training Officer Marty Hamrick told us "One of the needs we're seeing more often on the news in other states is firefighters getting killed from building collapses, things that have gone wrong on the fire ground."
With this scenario in mind the JFD has added an instructor to the training division to keep up with the requirements to keep the firefighters safe from harm at incidents. With over a hundred people on staff one instructor was not enough to teach three crews of thirty people per crew.
It's not just fires that demand the fire departments attention now, this year their responses have shifted in a bit of a different direction.
Keller,"Our runs have shifted around, in March of this year we began runs on motor vehicle accidents with injuries." These accident responses have not readily increased the number of runs the department makes although they are up a few more total runs so far this year compared to last year, around Fifteen hundred for the year so far.
Being a firefighter is a tough demanding job and during National Fire Prevention Month you might seem them around town at schools and community organizations a bit more than usual but you can rest assured the JFD is up for any challenge they might face.
Keller, "We're doing all the training we can for what ever call comes in."
Hamrick,"To protect the citizens,and we're here to do the best job we can and through the graciousness of the city and the people that live here. They see fit that we get new equipment and that's the main big help to us to do our job. "