In 2012, SFFR responded to 10,342 various emergency situations, up from 9,809 in 2011. (Included in this total were 43 incidents in the Wayne Township response area and 51 mutual aid responses.) Major responses and losses included fires at 5705 South Shadow Ridge Avenue ($175,000 property and contents), 709 East Pam Road ($170,000 property and contents), 4900 South Shamrock Circle ($125,000 property and contents) and 1100 North Main Avenue which resulted in the tragic deaths of three juveniles and property and contents loss of $95,000.
As the growth of the city continues, SFFR now provides services to 158,800 citizens and covers 73.958 square miles within the city of Sioux Falls. We also contract our services to approximately 1,368 people within the 22.342 square-mile coverage area of Wayne Township. The population of the city grows by an additional 25 percent during the daytime as workers commute into the city. The Operations Division is tasked with emergency response and is responsible for the management of day-to-day activities of the 166 personnel assigned.
During 2012, SFFR traveled to 90 percent of all code three or four emergencies (lights and sirens) in four minutes, fifty-eight seconds. Our 90 percent turnout time, the amount of time that it takes a crew to be paged, put on their firefighting gear, and leave the station, was one minute, seven seconds. Keeping low response times is a key component of maintaining our status as an internationally accredited fire department. Less than 200 departments in the world have attained this distinction.
The division is divided into two battalions. They are the North Battalion and the South Battalion. Other than the division chief and a fire analyst, all personnel work a 24-hour schedule. Emergency responses included responding to and mitigating medical calls, injury accidents, fire notifications and related incidents, technical rescue, and hazardous material incidents. In addition to standard mutual aid agreements, SFFR has agreements in place with counties for response to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and hazardous materials incidents in the region. A Joint Powers Agreement has been entered into with the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security to provide assistance to the rest of South Dakota in the event of an emergency that exceeds the capabilities of the local responders.
In 2012, our Regional Response Team (RRT) trained in trench rescue, swift water, and confined space rescue scenarios. We also drilled on breaching and breaking walls in structural collapse incidents and wide area search training. In addition to training our own members, we partnered with South Dakota Game Fish and Parks to conduct ice and swift water training in Mitchell, South Dakota. Our hazardous materials response component conducted hazardous materials incident command training, a rigorous two-week chemistry of hazardous materials class, and radiological refresher education. They also built on our foundation of training with the 82nd Civil Support Team from Rapid City with survey team training in November of 2012. Education and exercises like this ensures our crews have the skill and knowledge needed to provide an extremely high level of service to the citizens and visitors of Sioux Falls.
SFFR has 231 locations identified as target hazards within Sioux Falls. Our initial response level is dictated by the risk assessment of each of these target hazards. For example, the initial response may vary from four apparatus and a command vehicle (17 personnel) to six apparatus, one hazardous materials response team, one support vehicle and one command vehicle (30 personnel). The preplanning of these identified target hazards has been completed and the information entered into New World Systems. This vital information is available to all members of our department when responding to one of these locations via an onboard data terminal.