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Evanston Fire Department Chief Brian Scott, on Feb. 27, spoke to the Evanston City Council about his agency’s 2016 annual report.

Chief Scott said EFD had “a very busy year – we again topped our record for calls with 10,267.” Sixty-two percent of those calls were for Emergency Medical Services.

The national standard for fire department response times is about four minutes, which Mr. Scott called “a very good standard. … [But] if you look at our average response time, it’s three minutes and two seconds. We are well below that standard.”

EFD attended to 114 fires in 2016, Chief Scott said, and was able to keep the savable portion of property at 98%.

“That’s a testament to those response times, [and] the fact that we had zero fire fatalities in 2016 can be partly attributed to those response times,” he said.

Chief Scott also pointed to the importance of the response times in relation to the department’s EMS services, noting, “As you might expect, if someone has an acute medical condition, or various severe traumatic injuries, your odds of survival increase greatly the sooner we can deliver to you medical care. …Every minute in delay reduces the chances of survival by 7 to 10%.”

The Department also hosted what Chief Scott called an immersive Citizens Fire Academy program and helped certify 521 individuals in its Citizens CPR program.

“We look at this as a public safety initiative, because the more people that have that type of quality training, the better chances that someone who experiences cardiac arrest will have someone nearby who can perform this important lifesaving maneuver,” said Chief Scott. The Department offers one CPR program for the general public, while the other is for healthcare professionals.

Chief Scott also described EFD’s “After the Fire” program, which assists and provides information for residents who have suffered a fire.

In 2017, EFD will be enhancing its work in the public schools. Chief Scott said that, in the past, its school outreach mainly took place in Fire Prevention Week. That outreach will be much more aggressive, he added. “We should [reach] every student in Evanston, K-5.”

Chief Scott also said that he will seek input on the Department’s next strategic plan, which is scheduled for completion in 2020.