The South Milwaukee Fire Department has published its 2014 annual report, and it details a busy, and tragic, year.
See the full report here.
From South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joe Knitter …
This report is but a brief snapshot of the tremendous amount of hard work put forth by the members of your fire department who continue to demonstrate their commitment to providing an exceptionally high level of service and standard of coverage with the limited resources at hand.
Our call volume increased slightly during 2014 with a minor uptick in the number of fire calls we responded to. While the nationwide trend is a decrease in fire calls, it seems that this call for service follows a cyclical trend in our area. Our department requested mutual aid from our neighbors for 12 working structure fires in 2014. Dollar loss from these fires nearly doubled when compared to 2013, primarily due to the increase in the number of fires and the advanced stage of several of them upon our arrival. Unfortunately, the fire department experienced its second fire fatality in a span of three months (December, ’13-February, ’14) in a fire that occurred on February 27th in a single-family home that claimed the life of a 56-year old female. Prior to this fire and the previous fire that occurred in December of 2013, the South Milwaukee Fire Department went for over ten years without a fatal fire.
One area of improvement that I am proud to highlight is the increase in the number of community members impacted by our fire prevention/community outreach efforts. As you will see on Page 12, we have realized an 8% increase in the number of K-4/5 and 1st grade students who participated in our fire safety education program, a 20% increase in the number of 5th graders who attended our 5th Grade Fire Safety Program, and a 60% increase in the number of community members that participated in a fire extinguisher training program. While predicting how many fires or injuries these initiatives prevented is nearly impossible, our goal of delivering education to the community can only become more effective as we interact with more citizens.
In closing, the South Milwaukee Fire Department will continue to answer the call 24/7/365 and maintain its high level of service delivery as we respond to the needs of the community as an all-hazard, all-risk department. Our focus will remain on community involvement, risk reduction, fire prevention, public education, and delivering timely, professional, effective, and efficient service. The members of the South Milwaukee Fire Department and I would like to thank Mayor Erik Brooks, the members of the Common Council and Police and Fire Commission, and our citizens for all their hard work and continued support.
Right back at you, chief. Thanks to you and all of our firefighters for your hard work and dedication to keeping us safe.