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