Minden Fire Chief Kip Mourad runs a busy department, so it's quite all right with him that he only has to address the city council once a year.
"I only have to give a report once a year, unlike (police) Chief (Steve) Cropper who has to do it every month," Mourad told council members at Monday's meeting.
Mourad's report covers all aspects of the department over the past year, including number and types of calls answered and community outreach services.
According to his information, MFD made 35 total rescue calls (to date) in 2013, including 22 inside the city limits and 13 outside of it.
"The rescue squad covers half of the parish," Mourad said. "So, it's not just inside the city."
Total alarms in their coverage area were 211 – 183 inside the city and 28 outside. They include everything from structure fires to an airplane "crash," as well as false alarms.
Another 48 were fire drills, which are held on Monday nights, he said.
Minden Fire Department is often called to provide mutual aid to surrounding fire districts.
So far in 2013, the department has answered 28 mutual aid calls.
In Fire District 10 (surrounding Minden but outside the city limits), 11 were structure fires and two were grass and woods fires.
For Dixie Inn, nine were structure fires, one brush and one motor vehicle.
Firefighters gave Dubberly mutual aid on three structure fires and helped Sibley with one.
Total non-emergency runs were 124. They include but are not limited to the following:
Approval or denial of leaf or trash burning;
Small gasoline spill;
Natural gas smell in residence;
Activated carbon monoxide detector;
Installation of smoke detector;
Stand-by for natural gas repairs; and,
Person stuck in elevator.
Mourad's report showed his men – paid and volunteer – trained for more than 8,100 hours in 2013.
"Every shift has to have three hours of training every day," Mourad said. "It can be classroom or practical. Some of it can be done on the Internet, and it can be spread out. Rescue and vehicle extrication are technical classes. There's a lot of training involved in them."
At this point, Mourad has 31 volunteer firefighters.
The council voted unanimously Monday to raise the volunteers from $18 per call to $19, at Mourad's request.
Mourad, fire chief since 2009, has 15 paid firefighters divided over three shifts. Three are rookies, starting at $1,800 per month.
He said they must wait one year and have Hazmat training and Firefighter One certification before they can draw a state supplement of $500 per month. Once they are ranked as Firefighter One, their pay increases to $1,974. A Firefighter/Operator makes $2,068. Captains earn $2,350 and assistant chiefs make $2,820.
As chief, Mourad is considered a part-time employee and makes $1,000 per month.
Throughout the year, but primarily during October, which is Fire Prevention Month, Minden firefighters visited schools and civic organizations.
"We talked about fire prevention with 1,628 people over the past year – mainly kids," said the chief. "That was more than last year."
To date, firefighters have handed out 31 smoke detectors.
"This program was made possible by a grant from Conoco-Phillips," Mourad said. "We have a lot left, so if anyone needs a smoke detector, just call the fire department."
The department's non-emergency number is 371-4232. There is no charge for a smoke detector, and firefighters will provide installation instructions.