To the Honorable Mayor, City Council and Residents of Rapid City,
I respectfully submit this annual report as a comprehensive summary of the many accomplishments and activities of the Rapid City Fire Department for 2016. The Rapid City Fire Department is in constant pursuit of organizational excellence and this report is evidence of those efforts. Of the various services that are provided by the local government, the Fire Department is unique in that we provide a service that adds value to the community and the quality of life of our citizenry.
This service in some respects is immeasurable. While data can provide for a statistical analysis of the organization’s performance, how do you put a price on or measure the importance of having a safe community for your family? Fact is the majority of our customers never expected to call upon the Fire Department this year. But when they did, they were served by some of the most caring, compassionate and dedicated professionals in the business of public safety.
In 2016, we responded to 16,483 calls for service, either emergent or non-emergent. This number for the first time since 2011, was a reduction in calls for service in most major categories of reporting. We’d like to think this wasn’t an accident and look to see this downward trend continue. The reduction could have been in part to initiatives such as residential safety inspections, deployment of a mobile medic program, or an increased emphasis on community wide risk reduction. Regardless, the Fire Department will continue to find ways to reduce injury, loss of life, loss of property or damage to the environment as we move forward in a proactive manner.
A few highlights for 2016 that should be important to our citizens as well as the Fire Department were the improved Insurance Services Office (ISO) Fire Protection Classification rating from a 3 to that of a 2. This improvement in our firefighting capabilities reduces insurance premiums for property owners in Rapid City. A rating of a 2, places the Rapid City Fire Department in the top 2% of nearly 50,000 fire departments across the country that go through an ISO assessment. As an indicator of our risk reduction efforts and firefighting capabilities, nearly 90% of all fires in the City were contained to the room or object of origin. In other words, fires in Rapid City were kept small by either automatic fire sprinkler systems, early detection through modern fire detection systems or suppressed by our highly capable firefighting operations. In 2016, we only saw two civilian injuries and NO FIRE FATALITIES. On a side note, we were able to keep our firefighters safe and did not see any major injuries to our personnel. This is due to our commitment to operational readiness, training, preparation, physical fitness and subscribing to a culture of firefighter safety.
In closing, it has been an honor and a privilege of mine to serve as Fire Chief for the Rapid City Fire Department since 2010. My retirement from the Rapid City Fire Department was effective December 30, 2016. I was blessed with overwhelming support from both the community and the organization. As my last act as Fire Chief, I want to thank those that have held this office for paving the way for myself and Chiefs to come. Secondly, I want to thank those individuals that I have had the privilege to serve alongside for the last 27 years. Some were mentors of mine, others were my best friends or extended family and most importantly I want to thank those that I served most closely with on either engine companies, medic units or as chief officers for keeping me safe and looking after me. Retirement will be bitter sweet for me as I am leaving one of the best Fire Department’s in the country and the best group of co-workers anyone could ask for.
Mike Maltaverne- Fire Chief
Rapid City Fire Department