Rural Fire Chief and Geary County Emergency Management Director Garry Berges presented the Geary County Commission with fire statistics for 2020 and compared them to previous years at the county's regular Monday meeting.

According to Berges, there 120 fire runs in both 2020 and 2019 for the Geary County Rural Fire Department.

In terms of property damage, in 2020 there was a total of $202,130 caused by fires in Geary County. This is lower than the last two years. In 2019, total property damage came to $282,150 and in 2018, it came to $331,330.

The average response time for firefighters in 2020 was 9 minutes and 54 seconds, slightly longer than in 2019 when the average response time was 9 minutes and 19 seconds.

In total, in 2020, there were 244 truck responses over 2019’s 190 truck responses and 485 volunteer responses in 2020 over 2019’s 377 volunteer responses. The fire chief or assistant fire chief responded to 141 calls over 2019’s 103.

Total hours spent at fires by the rural fire department totaled 964.73 in 2020, where in 2019 this total came to 807.47. Volunteer firefighter hours came to a total of 809.31 in 2020, whereas the total number of hours spent by volunteers with the rural fire department in 2019 came to 633.01. The fire chief or assistant fire chief spent a total of 155.42 hours responding to calls in 2020, where in 2019 this total came to 174.46.

In 2020, there were five building fires to 2019’s seven building fires, 16 vehicle fires to 2019’s 12 vehicle fires, 36 grass or brush fires to 22 grass or brush fires in 2019, two cultivated grain or crop fires compared to one such fire in 2019, and 35 calls for medical assistance over 44 calls for medical assistance in 2019. In 2020, there were only three calls to deal with fuel spills, vehicle accidents, or downed power lines whereas in 2019, there were 12 such calls. There were six service calls in both 2020 and 2019 and eight “good intent” calls in both 2020 and 2019. In 2020, there were five incidents where Geary County first responders were dispatched only to have the call canceled while they were en-route to the scene, while in 2019 that only happened three times. Berges listed four authorized controlled burns in 2020, where in 2019 there were five authorized controlled burns listed.

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