By Devin Corbitt, The Belton Journal
The Belton Fire Department celebrated another successful year in 2014.
The department answered approximately 3,500 calls throughout the year, a small increase from 3,383 in 2013. They also met the requirements for the biannual Texas Commission on Fire Protection Inspection, affirming their continued excellence within the City of Belton.
Part of this continued excellence includes various programs that the department hosted throughout the year: They conducted the second Annual Health and Safety Fair in March, as well as the third
Annual Fire Prevention Open House in October at Fire Station 2 and gave fire prevention presentations at all Belton schools and daycares within the City of Belton.
As always, medics provided EMS support for the July 4 celebrations to ensure the safety of Belton citizens, and firefighters continued the support for the Belton High School fire class to teach the next generation about fire safety and becoming a firefighter.
The department also participated in the Santa Pals Toy Drive, which provided holiday assistance for more than 90 Belton families, and a food drive benefitting Helping Hands Ministry.
The year also brought many changes to the department, increasing the efficiency and quality of their services. These changes include the addition of two firefighters, Medic Ethan White and Army Veteran Firefighter/EMT William Edlin. Kendal Mraz, a junior at Belton High School, was selected as the 2014 Belton Fire Department Ms. Flame. She will help the department promote fire safety at various events throughout 2015.
The department also signed a franchise agreement with Capital EMS for nonemergency ambulance transports, allowing the department to respond to calls more efficiently and quickly.
Fire Station 1 received a new Peirce Pumper fire engine in the last week of the year. They also placed an order to refurbish one ambulance, which includes the addition of a new chassis and upgraded ambulance box. This refurbished ambulance is due for delivery in the summer of 2015.
Firefighters updated GPS grids with the locations of city fire hydrants and assisted with the city’s transition to “CodeRED,” a new city emergency notification system.
New departmental programs this year include a community “Take10” CPR (chest compression only) program, sponsored by the American Heart Association, which provided CPR training for many city employees and civic clubs.