Blair Volunteer Fire and Rescue responded to nearly 5 percent more calls in 2014 than in 2013, Fire Chief Kent Nicholson reported. 

Fire and rescue calls totaled 790 last year. The increase in calls is mostly attributed to sick people, Nicholson told the city council Jan. 27. 

Two members have completed their emergency medical technician (EMT) training. Blair Fire and Rescue is now accepting firefighter-only and EMT-only members in an effort to appeal to more applicants, Nicholson said. 

Five students are participating in the third year of the fire department's cadet class, which meets weekly. Blair Fire and Rescue is planning a large recruiting drive in the spring to drum up more applicants, Nicholson said. 

Several members are serving on state fire and emergency medical services committees and boards, Nicholson said. Blair will host the state fire chiefs' meeting in February, and its auxiliary will host the senators' breakfast at the capitol Feb. 17. 

Nicholson told the council his department is pushing state fire officials to address the dangers of floating lanterns. The thin paper lanterns — often called “sky” or “Chinese” lanterns — are lit from the inside by candles and released. 

Blair Fire responded to three floating lantern incidents July 4, and two homes burned down in Nebraska from the lanterns, Nicholson said. 

The year-end report includes:

FIRE DEPARTMENT CALLS

92 fire calls

90 automatic alarms

21 squad assists

55 personal injury accidents

1 rescue boat

22 mutual aid

23 hazardous materials

198  total fire calls 

FIRE DEPARTMENT HOURS

1,911.67 man hours for fire

1,515 training hours for fire

RESCUE SQUAD CALLS

629 rescue squad calls

603 emergency calls

6 emergency transfers

4 non-emergency transfers

56 automated external defibrillator

34 12-lead ECG

21 IVs

61 personal injury accidents

29 canceled

94 refused

3 helicopter

1 police department assist

592  total rescue squad   calls

RESCUE SQUAD HOURS

434.7 unit hours

2,720.93 man hours

807 training squad

TRAINING

6 members finishing Firefighter I class

2 members finished EMT training

5 cadet class students

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