The Idaho Falls Fire Department has always had its hands full, but recently has had to grow bigger hands.
“Our call volume has gone up drastically. On average over the past 4 years, we’ve gone up about 1,000 calls per year. We’re up about 2,000 calls over the past year,” said public information officer Kerry Hammon.
She said the growth in the area is one factor in the uptick in cases. The department has had to cut back on the amount of public relations stuff they do in order to meet the high demand of an increased call volume. That means no more tours, classroom education or other community events.
The department has around 125 employees spread across 5 stations. There are no volunteers, meaning all firefighters are paid and cross-trained as EMTs and paramedics. While not fighting fires, instead of sitting around, the Idaho Falls Fire Department is constantly responding to other random calls as EMTs.
“Although fire is the main word in our title … a lot of our calls are EMS. So, they’re going to vehicle accidents, cardiac arrests, water rescues, off-road incidents,” Hammon said.
The pandemic has changed some operating procedures for the department, but overall, everyone continues to operate at 110%, Hammon said. The I.F.F.D. and other fire departments have been meeting to discuss plans to tackle the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.
To learn more about the Idaho Falls Fire Department, click here.