After reading the Normal Fire Department section of the 2008 Annual Report, you will realize that it's a mistake to think that firefighters sit around waiting for calls to come in. These people are BUSY. Their work falls into three categories: responding to emergencies, providing safety education, and employee development. One of the biggest changes to the NFD in 2008 was the transition to a paramedic ambulance service (providing advanced life support). This transition required not just training for those involved, but cooperation from other firefighters to cover shifts during the training period.
Some interesting statistics regarding responding to emergencies: 5,115 total responses (the most frequent type of response being rescue/accident/medical assistance); an average response time of 4.43 minutes; of EMS-related responses, slightly over half of the patients transported to hospitals were females and the average age of all the patients transported was 49 years. Also, Saturday was the day on which the most runs were made, with Friday and Sunday close behind, and the time of day with the most runs was 3:00 p.m. (5:00 a.m. seems to be the slowest time of day).
There were 113 public education events in 2008, with lots of presentations in schools and other organizations, monthly car seat checks (which have been increased to twice monthly in 2009), and lots of fire drills. The robotic fire hydrant "Pluggie" seems to be a big hit with the kindergarten set. The number of inspections fluctuates due to loss of old buildings, addition of new construction, and the number of reinspections required. In 2008 there were 1,880 initial inspections and 651 reinspections.
Employee development in 2008 involved completing the National Incident Management System compliance (under the administration of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security). There were also many hours of in-house classes and lots of training. The demolition of dorms on the ISU campus provided the NFD (and others) with a great opportunity for training (they had over 400 fires in five days!). And this is just a very brief summary of all that they do. Impressed??