RCFD 2020 call numbers up four percent from 2019

The Rapid City Fire Department released their call numbers from 2020, which sharply trended up after the beginning months of the pandemic.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — First responders, like many, have faced increased challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rapid City Fire Department responded to 19,517 calls in 2020, a rise of four percent which is consistent from past years as the population grows in the area.

The calls equaled out to as follows:

  • Medical-Only Response-11,826
  • Mobile Medic Only-2,868
  • Fires & Potential Fires-1,337
  • Good Intent-1,274
  • Service Calls including Airport-1,221
  • Other incidents including Rescue-951
  • Aid Given to Other Departments-40

The fire department averaged about 50 calls per day, which was the same as 2019. The Fire and Life Safety Division also had 32 fire investigations as opposed to 46 in 2019.

Rcfd Numbers 4

The RCFD also reported:

Patients that were evaluated increased by two percent, patients that were transported were down by three percent, standby patients increased by 71 percent, and canceled patients increased by 72 percent. Eight civilians were injured in seven fires, while three were killed. Three more sustained moderate to life-threatening injuries and two had minor injuries.

But the pandemic put members of the RCFD in a different difficult spot, especially when it came to medical calls.

During the beginning stages of the pandemic, the fire department experienced fewer calls for service. But, that quickly changed as people became more comfortable calling for medical help, despite COVID-19 risks.

“We had to see some changes in what we did,” said Jason Culberson, the Chief of the RCPD.

With a global pandemic calling the shots, the RCFD had to call an audible in the way it provided patient care during calls for service, which rose about 14-percent (18,230 in 2020). Culberson also said that the department’s call numbers dropped during the early months of the pandemic, but sharply increased heading into summer.

“The number one change we did is we added a couple more of our mobile medics, which are the single resource, single paramedic riding in an SUV responding to calls,” Culberson said.  “So, we’d send one person, they’d take care of that call.”

As cases rose around the state, Culberson says that the fire department took proactive to ensure the maximum amount of safety for a tightly-knit firefighting group.

“We’re not in big groups anymore, we’re not doing training where the entirety of the shift is together,” Culberson said. “We’ll do small pockets of groups. These guys and galls all live together for a 24-hour period, so we try to keep them in that family group as much as we can.”

The fire department overcoming an increased call for service during a pandemic, with fewer personnel.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News