From the Chief
The Apple Valley Fire Department (AVFD) is comprised of sixty-two paid-on-call/volunteer firefighters and five full-time staff members. There are three fire stations strategically located throughout the City to provide optimal response. Our full-time staff includes the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief/Training Officer, Fire Marshal, Fire Inspector, and a Department Assistant. We also have a part-time clerical support staff person.
Every five years, Insurance Services Office (ISO) conducts a Public Protection Class (PPC) survey to evaluate a community’s ability to effectively suppress and prevent fires. The areas surveyed are Emergency Communications (9-1-1), Water Supply, Fire Department, and Community Risk Reduction programs of the fire department. The in-depth analyses of these areas are given point values that are then totaled into a final Classification of 1-10. A Classification of 1 indicates an exemplary fire protection program and a Classification of 10 indicates fire protection programs do not meet the minimum standards set by ISO. In December of 2017, the ISO PPC survey results revealed that Apple Valley had improved their rating from a Class 3, first issued in 1997, to a Class 2 that will become effective April 1, 2018. In addition to knowing they live in an area with an extremely strong fire protection programs, residents and businesses may also find lower insurance premiums as a result of this improved classification.
2017 saw the responsibilities of the Fire Department grow as new construction projects came out of the ground all over the city. In addition to naming a new Fire Marshal to work with all of the new construction, a full-time Fire Inspector position was filled at the end of the year. The Fire Inspector’s position is responsible for inspecting existing buildings and public outreach programs.
In our constant effort to maintain paid-on-call/volunteer firefighters at our three fire stations, we hold an annual recruitment and hiring each spring. Station banners, Facebook and Twitter posts, and information on the City website brought us a small but qualified group of applicants. Nationwide the recruitment and retention of paid-on-call/volunteer firefighters is growing more challenging every year.
In 2017, for the third year in a row, the Fire Department experienced a double-digit (10%) increase in call volume. Over the last three years (2015, 2016, 2017) calls for service have increased 28%. The department expanded its Duty Crew program to include Friday evenings and Saturday afternoon and evenings in order to meet the community’s needs. The Duty Crew program involves two firefighters staffing a rescue vehicle during limited paid-on-call/volunteer firefighter availability and high call volume hours to ensure an efficient and effective response. In 2017 the Duty Crew responded to 722 calls for service, 40% of the department’s total calls for service. Modifying our standard response plan to specific types of calls enables us to diminish the call load to our stations while still providing excellent service. Participation in the Duty Crew program remains purely volunteer for our firefighters and they take great pride in ensuring the shifts are filled a month in advance.
Apple Valley’s paid-on-call/volunteer firefighters are civic minded and committed to providing their community the best possible fire protection services. Neighbors Helping Neighbors!
On behalf of the members and staff of the Apple Valley Fire Department, I invite you to browse through our website to familiarize yourself with all the services we provide. We take great pride in our beautiful city and are committed to doing our part to keep it in the progressive and safe place it is to work and live.
Nealon P. Thompson
Apple Valley Fire Chief