West Fargo Fire Department Makes Staffing Changes for 2019 Due to Increased Calls

Four full-time firefighters are now at the Southside Station

WEST FARGO, N.D. — 2019 already has something new in store for the West Fargo Fire Department.

Last year, the West Fargo Fire Department responded to more than 900 medical calls and 662 more for fire and rescue. That’s up about 30 percent from the amount of calls they were receiving in 2017.

“What we saw was the call increase was going up but none of our firefighters were able to make that many calls. They just couldn’t give up that much time away from home, away from work so we know they can make on average 200 calls. We’re trying to match the expectation we put on these firefighters with what they can actually do,” said Chief Dan Fuller, with the West Fargo Fire Department.

The department’s Southside Station will now has four, full–time firefighters to respond to emergencies 24/7 in an area that keeps on growing.

“It’s an honor and a privilege. We get to spend now 24 hours running fire calls and helping protect the city for the full shift and that’s exciting to a lot of the guys who are on the full time side,” said Capt. Jason Carriveau with the West Fargo Fire Department.

“There’s pockets of calls in the southern part of town that never used to be there before. When you look back 15 years ago, that wasn’t even there. It’s just maybe catching up with the population,” Fuller said.

The addition means 15 firefighters, both full–time and on–call, can help when needed and an additional 36 are ready to help during major incidents.

Volunteers are also now city employees and will be paid.

Something that’s critical to those who spend hours away from their job to help someone in an emergency.

“A firefighter needs to leave his job or her job and ends up losing two hours of pay a day for four days out of the week. Where does that leave them in terms of financial stability with their family? So we’re trying to make up that gap,” Fuller said.

But that also means firefighters can respond to a fire even sooner because they will already be at the station.

“It’s very important whether it’s a medical emergency, it’s a fire emergency. Seconds to count and we do need to make sure we get there as fast as we can,” Carriveau said.

Chief Fuller says the next step will be to put on a full–time staff at the Central Station in the next couple years.

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