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FD improves response time

By Scott Mims

A quicker response time can mean the difference between life and death for a medical patient.
In 2009, the Thorsby Fire Department had an average response time of 5 minutes and 26 seconds — well below national recommendations, said Thorsby Fire Chief Lee Gunn.
The National Fire Protection Association’s  recommended response time for combination career andvolunteer departments like Thorsby is between seven and 10 minutes.
“We’re way under that standard,” Gunn said.
Just last week the department responded to a childbirth and a cardiac arrest. The baby was delivered on the scene, and the heart attack victim survived.
“With that real quick response time, the EMTs and paramedics were able to get there quickly, defibrillate the patient and transfer him down to Clanton. They stabilized him at Clanton and transferred him up to Birmingham,” Gunn said.
The department responded to 330 total incidents in 2009, a 1-percent decrease in call volume from 2008.
Of the incidents reported, there were 175 medical emergencies, 17 structure fires and six brush fires. There were 10 motor vehicle accidents, and three individuals had to be extricated.
The department also responded to 26 public assistance calls and 93 miscellaneous incidents.
The most common known cause of structure fires was electrical malfunction, which accounted for three fires. One fire was suspicious in nature, and four had unknown causes. Nine structure fire calls were for mutual or automatic aid, in which case the cause was not reported.
There were three civilian deaths in 2009, none of which were caused by fires, and three fire service injuries.
Gunn said one of the outstanding things about 2009 was the number of community events held throughout the year. These included Movies in the Park, a Fourth of July fireworks show, the annual Christmas Eve Santa Run, Fire Prevention Week and Community Cleanup Day.
Thorsby EMS officials are also present for football games and other athletic events.
“They’re doing a lot of things for the community that are not necessarily in their job description,” Gunn said.