The Bloomington Fire Department responded to 10,300 calls in 2012, the highest number ever. (WJBC file photo)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - The Bloomington Fire Department responded to more calls in 2012 than ever before.
Captain Brad McCollum said the overall number of fire and rescue calls increased by 576, most of which were ambulance, or Emergency Medical Service calls. He said that's the trend nationally.
"I think if you were going to look at any segment of the population seeing an increase it would probably be the elderly population," McCollum said. "With today's medicine and everything else people are living longer, so we do have a lot more older adults in the population, so I think that is one of the reasons you're seeing an increase, too."
The department also responded to more than 2,000 fire calls, with 114 structure fires causing $1.3 million in damage.
"The number one cause of fires is cooking fires. People get distracted while their cooking, whether it's a phone call, a text message, someone at the door or children," McCollum said.
The department reports the average response time for fire calls in 2012 was 5 minutes 25 seconds. Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling said the nationwide standard is six minutes or under. He said the department is getting busier each year and as a result, the response time is getting longer.
"We average one call every 50 minutes," Kimmerling said.
McCollum said the fire loss figure reinforces the need for working smoke detectors and renter's insurance.