Springfield Fires Dip in 2015, While Death Rate Remains Concern

Apr 26, 2016

The Springfield Fire Department responded to nearly 16,000 calls for service in 2015, with just over half of those medical emergencies.

The numbers were released Tuesday in the department’s annual report.

Credit KSMU archives

The overall response numbers from last year remain steady compared to previous years, while actual fire calls decreased by roughly 200 from 2014 and is the fewest in more than 10 years. Fire deaths, however, remain higher than the state and national average, according to Fire Chief David Hall.

“The one area that continues to plague the community is its fire death rate,” Hall stated in the report.

In 2015, there were three fire deaths in Springfield, which averages 3.25 per year. That’s the equivalent of 22.9 deaths per million of population. The national average is 13.3 and the state of Missouri average is 18.4. Fire fatalities have now been cited as a red flag in the city’s Community Focus Report, which Hall hopes will bring awareness to help combat this problem in the future.

Calculating 90 percent of structure fire calls in 2015, it took crews on average 1 minute, 49 seconds to leave the station. The department’s goal is 1:20. Calculating that same 90 percent, it took the first fire unit 7 minutes, 41 seconds to arrive on scene. That’s 20 seconds behind the department’s ideal goal, which is determined by the average response times of the last five years.

Also in 2015, the Springfield Fire Department was notified that it would maintain its class 2 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), placing the city in the top 1 percent of the state.

“This was very positive news because we received 86.06 points out of the 100 points possible, which was a full five point improvement over just four years ago. This is the first time the community was rated using the updated rating system, which now recognizes the department’s efforts in public education, fire investigation, and code enforcement,” Hall said.

Additionally, the department’s Water Rescue Team responded to 79 swift water and flood incidents in 2015, making over 30 rescues. Several Water Rescue Team members were recently honored for their efforts during flooding rescues last year.

The Springfield Fire Department currently has 12 fire stations throughout the city, with plans for another two stations in western Springfield.

Read the full report here.