Eastern Wake News

Knightdale fire department working to hit its goals

Driver-operator Anya Blackley, left, goes through the daily checklist with Knightdale Fire Commander Tim Guffey, right, to make sure all equipment is in place and in good working order.
Driver-operator Anya Blackley, left, goes through the daily checklist with Knightdale Fire Commander Tim Guffey, right, to make sure all equipment is in place and in good working order. 2002 FILE PHOTO

Department officials have released a mid-year fiscal report, releasing some encouraging numbers and revealing areas where the department is seeking growth.

The department’s average response time is about four minutes and 47 seconds, unchanged from 2013-14.

Town councilman James Roberson, chair of the public safety committee, reported the numbers to the council on Jan. 21 and said the department’s goal is 4:45.

“We’ll continue to work on that,” he said.

Fire Chief Tim Guffey said the department has set that time as a personal goal, and have been “inching up” their response time. As development spreads throughout the town, he said, longer travel times – especially to locations down Hodge Road – have increased their average time.

“When we first moved (to this location) in 2006, we were at ... 3 minutes and 50 seconds,” he said.

One tool that has been helpful is a signal control to change the intersection lights at Knightdale Boulevard and Widewaters Parkway to help with safe and expeditious navigation.

During this fiscal year, which began in July,, Guffey said the department is beginning to track its response time with the National Fire Protection Association standards, which suggest having 15 firefighters on the scene in 10 minutes. Although they had previously tracked having 12 people, Knightdale meets that standard 46 percent of the time.

The department continues to salvage more than 97 percent of property in a fire, and in the first half of 2014 that totaled to $8.6 million in property saved.

Other goals

Though the reporting year is only half over, the department has already exceeded the number of people reached all of the previous year for fire prevention presentations.

This year, they held 53 events where they presented to nearly 6,000 children and adults combined. Last year the department presented to about 5,800 people with nearly double the number of events.

“The program this fall was extremely busy,” Guffey said. “We really rolled it out stronger this year.”

The Knightdale Fire Department also offers a child safety seat program and will install free smoke detectors or complete home inspections upon request.

So far, they have assisted with 86 car seat installations during two public clinics, which is on track to keep with the growth the department has seen in the past three years. They often host several clinics in the spring.

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