NORFOLK, NE — There’s no stopping for Norfolk Fire Fighters.
“From the time we get the first alarm, to when we arrive on the scene, the clock is ticking.” Norfolk Fire Chief, Scott Cordes says.
It goes without saying that timing and moving with purpose is their mission.
“The citizens deserve a rapid response in an efficient manner, but we need to do that in a safe manner too. Keeping the other motorist and pedestrians along the pathway to the call utmost in our minds so we are keeping those folks safe as we are getting there as quickly as we reasonably can.”
That’s why their goal and standard is to respond to emergencies in five minutes or less.
“All those early decision are made in seconds and that just comes from training repetition. The officer are very well versed on what resources need to be deployed and those decisions are made quickly.”
However, there are some challenges that the fire department face.
“It’s what keeps me awake at night because it’s happening so often…There are many times during the day during the course of the year where both stations are completely empty and there is no staff to respond to the call because they are out on existing calls at the same time.”
With staffing being an issue, response time could potentially suffer if there is no one to jump on the rigs. The last time the department could hire was back when the second station was build. Since then call volume has gone up 20%.
Cordes says that this is an issue they are looking to address.
“I am currently working with the mayor and city council to address those things. Adding staffing is an expensive venture and a burden to the taxpayers certainly, but we are looking at those increasing call volumes and need to be able to consistently provide that service to the community.”
Cordes says that there does seem to be a national trend where baby boomers are reaching an age where perhaps they are avoiding the big cost of nursing homes. He says the increase of calls are medical.