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Firefighters across the nation are responding to fewer fires and more medical emergencies

Across the nation, 51% of the calls fire departments respond to are medical emergencies. Only 3% of those are fire-related.

Posted: Jun 18, 2019 6:09 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The fire department has a much broader term these days.

“20 or 30 years ago it was just simply put water on the red stuff and it's not that. But I think a lot of people still have that perception that that's what we do,” said West Lafayette Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Need.

Deputy Chief Need, like many other fire officials across the nation, has seen a decline in fires.

“100 years ago there were several major fires where hundreds of people were killed and so a lot of fire-codes were developed out of investigations of those fires,” said Need. “How do we save lives and prevent people and property from being damaged.”

A major reason for this is fire codes like sprinklers and fire-alarm systems. The tools have played a large role in the prevention of devastating fires.

So what ranks number one for these responders?

“In West Lafayette specific, over the last 12 months, 70% of the calls we go on are what we consider EMS or rescue that are not of a fire in nature,” said Deputy Chief Need.

According to Deputy Chief Needs, the response calls rank:

1. 70% - EMS and Rescue 
2. 11% - False Alarm 
3. 8% - Service 
4. 5% - Good Intent 
5. 3.5% - Fire 
6. 1.5% - Special cases

Firefighters are training much differently now.

“25 years ago, for the most part, our guys were trained to fight fires. So to take on a whole medical certification is just that, it's something you have to take training for,” said Deputy Chief Need.

Firefighters who've been in the field anywhere from 25 years to five years see the importance of EMS training first hand.

“There are way more things the fire department is responsible for these days than years prior,” said West Lafayette Assistant Fire Chief John Irr.

“I mean, when you get into it I think you kind of think that you're going to be fighting a lot of fires and kicking down doors and stuff but it's not that at all,” said West Lafayette Firefighter Cody Stacy.

According to Chief Deputy Need

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Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
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