Wednesday, January 18, 2017

RCFD Promotes Three

Promotions Come in Anticipation of Impending Retirement

Rapid City, S.D. - The Rapid City Fire Department would like to congratulate three of our finest employees on their promotion within the organization. The promotions come ahead of the April retirement of EMS Section Chief TJ Nicolai.

Brent Long was promoted to the position of EMS Section Chief. In this position, Chief Long’s responsibilities will include assurance of quality care by the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system, gathering and analyzing statistical data and recommend system improvements, and oversee EMS related training including the Paramedic Field Training Evaluation Program. Chief Long has an extensive background in EMS serving as a Paramedic both at the Rapid City Fire Department and Black Hills Life Flight. Brent has served in several capacities within the RCFD. He has held the rank of Firefighter, Public Information Officer, Operations Lieutenant and Operations Captain.

Brian Povandra has been promoted to the rank of Operation Captain with a station assignment to be determined. Brian is currently the team leader of the Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team. Brian is currently a National Registry Paramedic and is highly trained in the area of technical rescue. Brian has held the rank of Firefighter/Paramedic and Operations Lieutenant.

Niell Goodart has been promoted to the rank of Operations Lieutenant with a station assignment to be determined. Neill is a National Registry Paramedic and has specialized training in the area of Hazardous Materials Emergency Response as a Hazmat Technician.

These three individuals are among the organizations best and brightest. We wish them congratulations and know that they will continue to make our department proud while serving in their new capacities.

Chief TJ Nicolai will retire from the RCFD in April after a distinguished 20 year career that began February 10, 1997. Chief Nicolai has been a Paramedic since 1985 and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Rapid City Fire Department. Prior to employment with the Rapid City Fire Department, TJ served as a Pennington County Sheriffs Deputy. The Rapid City Fire Department wishes TJ all the best in retirement and congratulates him on an outstanding career in public service.

For questions regarding this release, please contact the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

RCFD Responds to Mid-Morning Fire in West Rapid City

High Call Volume Trend Continues

Above: Crews make entry into the home at 3529 Western Ave to put out a fire and rescue two cats. Photo Credit: Jerome Harvey- Pennington County Fire Administrator

Rapid City, S.D. - Fire crews from across Rapid City were called to a residential structure fire just after 10 am Thursday morning. 

At 10:04, Rapid City/Pennington County 9-1-1 dispatched a report of a structure fire at 3529 Western Ave. When the crew from Station 5 arrived three minutes later, they found a significant amount of smoke coming from all sides of the structure. The lone occupant of the residence informed arriving crews that no human occupants remained in the structure.

Upon entering the residence, the crews were able to quickly knock down the fire and stop it's forward progress. Lt. Gerry Baker and Firefighter/Paramedic Brett Morton rescued two cats from the home which were turned over to the homeowner. Both felines were transported to a local veterinarian for evaluation.

The residence sustained significant damage and is not tenable at this time. The American Red Cross serving Central and Western South Dakota was called to the scene and is assisting the occupant with immediate needs.

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Also responding to the fire were representatives from Montana Dakota Utilities and Black Hills Energy, The Rapid City Police Department and South Dakota Highway Patrol assisted with traffic control. The Pennington County Fire Administrator, Jerome Harvey, was also on scene to provide assistance.

The structure fire came at a time when multiple crews, including Truck 1 and Engine 7, were performing an extrication of a trapped motorist as a result of a motor vehicle collision at the intersection of 8th and Kansas City streets. This was the second vehicle extrication for Engine 7 in less than 24 hours.

Since Sunday, the RCFD has seen a noticeable increase in call volume. In a 4 day span from 7 am Sunday, January 7th until 7 am this morning Rapid City Fire Department crews had run 234 calls. That figures out to 58 calls per shift. As of right now, from Sunday at 7 am until 1:52 pm, the department is at 263 calls during that span, or 61 calls per shift (about 4 and 1/3 shifts). The average calls per shift for the RCFD is around 44 calls per shift.

In the past 4 days the RCFD has made over 350 unit responses. That means that from 7 am Sunday to 1:52 today, we have had an apparatus respond over 350 times (about 81 times per day). The unit response number is higher than calls for service because some calls get more than one unit. For example, a motor vehicle crash with extrication will get a three unit response (an engine or truck Company, a rescue apparatus and an ambulance). The number of unit responses over the past 4 days is also above average.

We have had 7 Cardiac Arrests (personnel intensive and skills intensive) in 4 days. Calls with “pain” listed as the chief complaint are leading the way for specific categories. We have had higher than usual number of calls for “chest pain” and a slightly above average number of calls for respiratory difficulty.

Also notable, our Mobile Medic has been on 12 calls since Monday. He works 8 am to 4 pm. On half of those calls, he has prevented the need for an ambulance response. That means an ALS ambulance has been available for higher acuity/more severe calls for service.

So, what does this all mean and how does it affect the public? Well, it just means that we have seen a lot of really sick people lately and there have been a higher than normal number of accidents and mishaps in our community in the past 4 days. We can't put our finger on any one cause or find anything to really attribute it to. It's not like the Stock Show or Rally are in town and we can point to an influx of people. We haven't had a big storm to blame. There isn't a rhyme or reason for the increase in calls.

This is simply a good reminder for everyone to practice safe habits. Wear your seatbelt, be attentive when driving and slow down. Be careful when you walk on snow and ice. Check your smoke alarms and change them if they're over ten years old. In short: Just be safe out there. 

The good news is that your Rapid City Fire Department is well staffed with highly trained individuals ready to help anywhere, anytime. We have a great system in place to deal with the higher than normal call volumes and promise that we will be there if you need us.

If you have comments or questions related to this article, please contact Lt. Jim Bussell at (605)-394-4180.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

RCFD to Participate in Ice Rescue Training

Canyon Lake Park Area Will See Increased Emergency Vehicle Traffic

Rapid City, S.D. - Beginning 1-11-2017, the Rapid City Fire Department and the Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team will conduct ice rescue training at Canyon Lake Park on January 11, 12 and 13. This is an annual refresher for all RCFD personnel. Motorists and visitors to the park and park area will see a number of emergency vehicles and personnel in the park and on the lake. There is no actual emergency and the public should not be alarmed.

The training begins at 8 am at all Rapid City Fire Stations with a classroom presentation by certified Ice Rescue instructors Lt. Brian Povandra and Lt. Hunter Harlan. Once the classroom portion is complete, hands on training will begin in the park. Firefighters and apparatus will start arriving in Canyon Lake Park between 9 and 10 am. Training should be completed each day by 4:30 pm.

Please contact Lt. Jim Bussell, Rapid City Fire Department Public Information Officer, at 605-394-4180 for questions related to this release.