The past year saw an increase in the number of incidents the Turlock Fire Department responded to, with more than 6,000 emergency calls, according to the department’s annual report.
“As an all-risk fire department, we respond to a wide range of emergencies, from structure fires to medical emergencies, hazardous materials, rescues and the list goes on,” said Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni when presenting the annual report to the Turlock City Council.
In 2018, the fire department responded to 6,832 emergency calls for service. Many of these calls required multiple engines to mitigate the emergency bringing the total number of engine responses to 9,544. In 2017, the department responded to 6,793 calls and in 2016, it was at 6,745 calls.
“Since 2014, our total call volume has increased, with no signs of slowing down,” Talloni said. “The calls are becoming more complex and require more personnel on scene.”
Talloni attributed the complexity and increased call volume to new EMS protocols, newer and lighter vehicles which when involved in collisions result in more complex extrications, and more industrial areas in the city which present a larger threat for hazardous materials releases.
There were 284 fire calls over the span of 2018. Seventy-two of those calls were for vegetation fires; 61 structure fires; and 48 vehicle fires. The remaining 103 fires were classified as other in the report. In 2017, there were 70 structure fires; 42 vehicle fires; 50 vegetation fires; and 86 other type of fire calls.
Of all the fire calls last year, 39 were classified as arsons and caused an estimated $249,670 worth of damage, according to the annual report. In 2017, there were 35 arson fires and the damage was estimated to have cost $230,370.
Medical-related calls make up the majority of calls for service at the department. In 2018, the firefighters, which in Turlock are all certified Emergency Medical Technicians, responded to a total of 4,273 emergency medical services calls. Of those, 319 involved a motor vehicle collision; 20 were for extrications or rescues; and 10 were for other medical calls. In 2017, the fire department responded to 6,793 emergency calls, with motor vehicle accidents accounting for 332 calls. Extractions and rescues and other medical calls accounted for 37 calls in 2017.
The calls for service within Turlock’s four districts were fairly evenly split. District 1 had 1,737 calls; District 2 had 1,676 calls; District 3 and 4 both had 1,660 calls each. Another 74 calls were out of the districts.
Continued training and honing of skills played an integral role at the fire department. In 2018, the fire department logged 8,054.50 training hours, up from the 7,295.50 logged in 2017. A factor in the increased training hours was the burn structure completed in 2018 that allows for live-fire training.
Planning and design work began in 2018 on a new metal constructed ventilation training prop. It will be completed in early 2019 and will replace a 22-year-old wooden structure that has ongoing maintenance issues.
Turlock Fire held an academy for six new firefighters in June 2018. A modified academy was created for the seventh firefighter hired in August 2018, wherein he was a part of an engine company receiving on the job training.
Neighborhood Services falls under the umbrella of the fire department. This agency works in partnership with the community to promote and maintain a safe and desirable living and working environment in the city. Over 2018, Neighborhood Services conducted 4,435 inspections, responded to 3,150 municipal code violation calls, recovered 486 shopping cards, abated 640 graffiti incidents and removed 1,793 signs. Neighborhood Services also made 3,150 contacts with homeless individuals in the city and removed 62,840 pounds of refuse in 2018.