Chief John Whisenant
As we usher in 2022, I want to take a moment and reflect on the success your Beaver Lake Fire Department (BLFD) saw in 2021. BLFD has been steady in our mission improving safety for those who live in, work, and visit our community.
DID YOU KNOW?
BLFD is a combination paid/volunteer fire department. What this means is we have some staff that is employed and paid fulltime, some staff which are employed and paid part-time, and some staff which are volunteers. Let’s look at how your fire department is staffed.
- One Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance staffed with one BLFD Firefighter/EMT and one Mercy Paramedic 24 hours a day seven days a week
- Two-person engine company staffed 12 hours a day seven days a week with a BLFD Firefighter/EMT and Company Officer
- One full-time fire chief five days a week (on call 24/7)
Some of the things we are looking forward to in 2022 include:
- Two-person engine company staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a fulltime Engineer and fulltime company officer
- New Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) for our firefighters
- New Water Tender provided by Benton County Fire Protection Association
- Continuing the buildout of our live-fire training facility at our Cypress Ln. station
- Improving our Lake area response with a donated Boston Whaler, which will allow for a larger capacity fire pump to protect marine vessels and docks
Having this improved staffing in the station ready to answer your calls is of great benefit to you, as it provides for improved response times and a higher level of guaranteed service. The new staff we will be providing moves us closer to our goal of a three-person engine company 24/7. This goal is stated in our 2015 strategic plan approved by the board and posted since fall 2015. This staffing goal meets the bare minimum of national safety standards and falls far short of the needed manpower on active fire scenes. It is important we maintain and actively recruit volunteer responders who share the spirit of service to the community and who want to learn the craft of fire and emergency services. You can find volunteer applications on our website or by stopping at the Cypress Ln. fire station during normal business hours. One of the many benefits to volunteering with Beaver Lake Fire Department is the opportunity for paid certification training and opportunity to be hired and receive compensation for your work on our part-time or fulltime rosters or even on a career department around NWA.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having properly trained personnel who are able to respond to your emergencies. The national fire protection association (NFPA) and occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) standard calls for at least four fire personnel to be on scene of a structural fire before entry can be made into that structure for firefighting or rescue operations. When you hear me talking in our community about the need for personnel it is both for your safety and ours. I will always advocate to meet safety standards to best protect and serve our community, that will not change.
Since beginning our partnership with Mercy EMS in January of 2018 to co-operate an ALS ambulance based at our Cypress Ln. station, BLFD has invested over a quarter million dollars in capital improvements for EMS. The majority of this is paid for through the contract with Mercy EMS with a very small portion paid through community donations for equipment such as the Lucas CPR device. Our co-operated ambulance is part of a two-ambulance system contract by Benton County with Mercy EMS. Our ambulance covers BLFD, Rocky Branch, Piney Point, and parts of 94E fire districts. The Lucas CPR device purchased in 2020 directly saved the life of a sudden cardiac arrest patient in December of 2020.
BLFD is proud to serve our community not just in your time of need but through many public information and service initiatives. Each year BLFD hosts a FREE community parade, we also take part in the annual Guns N Hoses School Supply drive at Dollar General in Prairie Creek. This event brings BLFD and Benton County Sheriff's office together in a friendly event gathering school supplies for lake area children. BLFD also partners with Dollar General each year for a holiday toy drive, which coupled with the Santa parade brings joy throughout our community. Along with these great events you can see BLFD out at any number of Lake events doing EMS standbys or simply getting to know our residents. You can also see your Fire Chief or a representative at many POA meetings available to answer any questions you have about emergency response in our community.
BLFD answered 852 calls for service in 2021. We experienced a 26% or 222 call overlap during 2021 a record number and one that strains our fragile response model. Our busiest day in 2021 was in April during a flash flooding event. We responded to nine calls for service that day in a three-hour period including a swift water rescue and evacuation of 110 citizens from a flooded commercial structure. At BLFD we are committed to providing professionally trained, properly equipped personnel to meet your needs. We will utilize every dollar you provide to us through fire dues and donations to improve upon each service we provide.
I am humbled to serve my seventh year as your fire chief. Having set my roots here in 2007 and quickly becoming a volunteer firefighter for this community, I now have a large family of my own I am raising here. I have a vested interest in the quality of emergency services our community receives. I am always willing to answer questions or field concerns you may have; you can contact me three ways.
- · Fire Station @ 16035 Cypress Ln. M-F during normal business hours
- · Email: email@example.com
- · Cell: 479-202-0270
Thank you for your continued support of the BLFD, we are here when moments matter.
John Whisenant, CPM®,CFE
Beaver Lake Fire Department
16035 Cypress Ln
Rogers, AR 72756
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