The 2013 Anna Fire Department Annual Report was presented to Anna city council by Fire Chief Tim Gothard at the Feb. 11 city council meeting. While the report updated council members it also provided insight to the community on the activities and accomplishments of the Anna Fire Department.

"I am proud to present our 2013 annual report highlighting the services of Anna Fire Rescue. We take great pride in providing services to our customers and as professionals we strive to bring excellence to the workplace every day to better protect and serve our customers," said Chief Gothard in his introductory remarks. "Statistics alone do not represent the dedication our department members put forward in carrying out our mission. I am very proud of our members and the efforts they display each day to make our community a safer place to live, work and play."

The report was dedicated to Firefighter Andrew Fassett, who passed away on October 25.

The AFD operations division is composed of all the apparatus and firefighters that respond to emergencies when a citizen calls 9-1-1. Anna Fire Rescue includes five paid employees, three part-time employees and approximately 27 volunteers. Members must pass a background check, an interview and physical agility tests before beginning a three-month probationary period. Gothard stated that these members donated more than 24,000 hours of station time and spent more than 1,000 hours in training.

Members of Anna Fire Rescue are either certified or attending courses to be certified through various agencies: Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP), State Fireman& Fire Marshal’s Association (SFFMA) and Texas Department of Health Services (TDH). Of the 35 current staff members, 25 are TCFP trained, five are SFFMA trained, 13 are paramedics and 12 are EMT certified.

The department’s vehicle fleet consists of two fire engines, two brush trucks, a rescue vehicle, one tanker and two command vehicles.

AFD responded to 1,160 calls for service in 2013, compared to 1,021 in 2012, a nearly 14 percent increase. Of the 1,160 calls, 583 were EMS related, 308 fire related, 50 were false calls and the remaining 219 calls were for a variety of miscellaneous services.

Mutual aid was provided 88 times to other departments; 36 times mutual aid was received by AFD.

The life safety division, also known as the Fire Marshal’s Office, is under the direction of AFD veteran James Dockray. The Fire marshal’s Office is responsible for fire inspections and investigations as well as public education. Annual fire inspections are conducted of existing occupancies such as schools, churches, restaurants, apartment buildings and various businesses. All new businesses require a certificate of occupancy, which includes a fire inspection.

In 2013, 172 inspections were conducted which included 87 annual inspections, 52 re-inspections, 15 certificates of occupancy and 18 miscellaneous inspections.

The fire marshal also serves as the city’s code enforcement officer and in 2013 investigated approximately 50 complaints from citizens and worked with owners of five unsafe structures, all of which were torn down and properly disposed of.

The fire chief, who is also certified as a peace officer, is designated as the city’s arson investigator and is the city’s emergency management coordinator. In 2013, a goal was set, and met, for all city employees to be trained in courses required by FEMA. The city’s emergency operation center is activated in a disaster situation or a city wide emergency as was the case in June during the city’s water main break. It was put on standby during the December ice storm.

After the June EOC activation, the department’s training room underwent minor renovations and now can be turned into a makeshift EOC center if needed. Laptop computers were purchased along with portable charging units in case of power outages. Televisions were mounted to observe weather and news events. A radio was also purchased for the EOC to monitor emergency traffic along with an amateur (HAM) radio to monitor and communicate with storm spotters.

AFD personnel are involved in community awareness programs such as National Night Out, Operation Santa, Reading with Kids, station tours and Citizens Academy. In 2013, more than 7,000 citizens were contacted through these events.

According to Gothard, the department’s goals for 2014 are to focus on recruitment and retention, training, professional development, community service and public fire education.

"It is my pleasure to serve as fire chief and have the opportunity to work beside the men and women of the Anna Fire Department," said Gothard.