Prior to the merger of the Newton Fire and EMS departments in 1997, the Newton Fire Department had provided high-quality fire protection to its citizens for over 100 years. Since the merger, Newton Fire/EMS has upheld this tradition, and continues to serve the community with professionalism and pride. The fire department’s rich history of fine service was well complemented by the progressive EMS department, and combined as Newton Fire/EMS they offer the most up-to-date strategies and tactics backed by years of experience.
Staffing and Response
The department responds to a variety of fire-related incidents, including everything from structure fires to gas smells. A typical building fire response includes an engine company from each station, two medic units, and a chief officer. Additional staff and apparatus respond as needed, including the aerial platform for multi-level facilities and heavy rescue trailer for extensive rescue situations or extended-duration fires.
A grass fire response includes a brush truck from Station 1 and additional engines responding as needed for water supply. Responses to other incidents vary by size and severity. NFEMS strives to utilize its fire protection resources to their full advantage, and uses both paramedics and EMTs to staff fire apparatus.
Newton Fire/EMS provides fire protection to the cities of Newton and North Newton, as well as a few outlying rural townships. Mutual aid is provided to the surrounding volunteer fire departments in Harvey County as needed, and those same departments can also assist NFEMS on large-scale incidents where additional resources are required. NFEMS participates in the Harvey County Rural Structure Fire Tanker Response Plan, which coordinates automatic responses from multiple departments in the event of a structure fire in rural areas of Harvey County.
Call Volume and Statistics
Of the more than 3,000 calls that Newton Fire/EMS responds to each year, approximately 20 percent are fire-related, including rescue. In 2015 the department responded to 33 building fires, 52 grass fires, 22 vehicle fires, and 151 traffic injury accidents. The remainder of the fire-related calls consist of other fires, automatic fire alarms, hazardous situations and service calls. As area population and call volumes increase, NFEMS continues to grow and adapt while maintaining a high standard of fire protection.
Training and Certifications
The minimum requirement for employment at Newton Fire/EMS is Firefighter I and EMT-Basic certification; however, many new employees have a fire science degree or other fire certifications. NFEMS continually offers the opportunity for its members to obtain higher levels of education through fire science classes and certification courses, many of which are held in-house. Training is also an everyday part of life as a firefighter, and NFEMS utilizes a broad range of training methods, which range from small round-table discussions to full-scale simulations of major incidents.
In addition to its longstanding tradition and distinguished reputation, Newton Fire/EMS has accomplished many notable goals. The construction of the training grounds in 2001 allowed the department to integrate real-life scenarios and live-fire situations into its training program on a consistent basis. In 2010 the department also earned an Insurance Safety Organization (ISO) rating of 2, which reflects outstanding fire service and infrastructure, and lowers commercial insurance rates of businesses in our response area. Perhaps the most noteworthy achievement is the excellent relationship NFEMS maintains with the public it serves; our goal is not only to protect lives and property, but to improve the quality of life for our citizens.