The Town of Millet Fire Department is on par with the number of calls it has seen the the last few years, sitting at approximately 100.
However, Chief Blair Mohr says it depends on the first freeze as to how the rest of 2016 goes, as it could lead to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. “If it’s in October we’re always responding to the highways.”
Mohr added another source of calls this year has been false alarms. He says town council was looking to institute a bylaw tackling false alarms. “I (tried to) discourage it with council. I said I’d rather try an education approach first.”
This year for Fire Prevention Week the Millet Fire Department will be going door-to-door with pamphlets to talk with home owners about their alarms systems.
“With crime rates being higher I think more and more people are installing alarms in their homes,” said Mohr. He added security companies do not always provide proper system education when installing the alarms.
“It hasn’t gone up substantially … We’re sitting at approximately 19 false alarms calls for the year,” said Mohr; last year the there were approximately 13.
When an alarms goes off, if it turns out to be false and the department is told to stand down, one truck will still attend the scene to speak with an owner about the cause of the alarm and how it could be prevented in the future. “We’re trying to educate, minimize, hopefully that will reduce things,” said Mohr.
Something as trivial as an alarm set too close to a bathroom can be set off by steam.
Over the spring and early summer departments were forced to deal with drought conditions. Mohr decided not to put a fire ban on the town and felt Millet’s strict set of guidelines and bylaws would keep dangers to a minimum. “Our call volumes of people breaking the rules are pretty much nil.”
This year the department has handled approximately 15 outside fires, a category which includes brush piles and false alarms. “Sometimes brush piles result in grass fires,” said Mohr. “In town there’s zero for grass fires,” he added.
One hot topic the department is not struggling with is retention. “Our membership doesn’t turn over a lot.”
Mohr says one of the members, Al Kilborn, has been with the department for 45 years. “I’m a baby, I’m going on 23 years.”
Mohr adds the department is always looking for daytime volunteers. “Evenings and weekends there’s a lot more people around.”