The Neosho Fire Department received a higher number of calls for service in 2012 than they had in any of the previous five years, according to the department's year-end report.
Neosho Fire Chief Mike Eads said the department received 2,101 calls in the past year, up from 1,354 in 2011 and 1,165 in 2010.
"The number of calls from last year increased considerably," Eads said. "Due in part, medical calls increased, and then also the drought and dry conditions over the entire year."
Eads presented the department's year-end numbers to the Neosho City Council Tuesday evening.
"If anything, I think that lets the public know that we have the staffing in place and the proper people in place to do the job that we're here to do," said Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson.
In 2012, the Neosho Fire Department received 171 calls relating to fires, while 1,319 calls were rescue or medical. The department also received 106 calls for mutual aid.
"That's probably the biggest change in our report from the previous year is just the number of calls," Eads told council members.
After the city's financial crisis forced staffing cuts in 2010, the Neosho Fire Department is back to full staff, with a total of 32 employees.
The department includes Eads, an administrative assistant, a training officer, three battalion chiefs, three captains, 12 engineers, six full-time firefighters and three paid-per-call firefighters.
The return to pre-layoff staffing in May 2011 was made possible by the department receiving the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant, which funded nine full-time positions.
The $780,643 grant runs out this April.
"There will be no staff reductions when the SAFER grant runs out," Davidson said. "It did buy us some time to get our finances in order and it was much needed."
Eads noted in his year-end report that the SAFER grant allowed the department to reinstate several programs, including responding to medical calls, community education, fire prevention programs and staffing of both stations.
While medical calls made up the largest portion of calls received in the past year, Eads said the number of overall calls set a record for the department.
"2012 was a busy year for us," Eads wrote in the report. "The fire department budget continued to improve allowing us to continue all aspects of service that we have provided in the past."
The response area of the Neosho Fire Department is approximately 93 square miles and serves three districts: District A, which is inside city limits and covers Neosho north of South Street, District B, which is also inside the city, and covers all of Neosho south of South Street, and District C, the Neosho Area Fire Protection District.
The fire protection district stretches to Iris Road on the north, Goldfinch on the west, AA Highway on the south and Panda Road on the east.
Page 2 of 2 - District A received the most calls in 2012, with a total of 951, or about 45 percent of the year's total calls. District B received 524 calls and District C received 552 calls for 2012.
In District A, the average response time to fire calls was five minutes and 12 seconds, while District B's average response to fire calls was four minutes and 30 seconds, and District C's average response time was 10 minutes and 12 seconds.