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More EMS calls, fewer fires in Mitchell this year

Mitchell's EMS responders have seen a little of everything so far this year in the approximately 900 square miles their ambulances cover. Fire Chief Marius Laursen said that, in a way, that's a good thing. "Sometimes I take a look at the numbers ...

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Mitchell Fire & Rescue. (Republic file photo)

Mitchell's EMS responders have seen a little of everything so far this year in the approximately 900 square miles their ambulances cover.

Fire Chief Marius Laursen said that, in a way, that's a good thing.

"Sometimes I take a look at the numbers and see, if we're running on certain things a lot, is that a problem? And do we need to work on education for that in the community?" Laursen said. "I'm just really not seeing too many of those things right now."

According to data reported Monday to the Mitchell City Council, the number of EMS responses recorded from January through the end of September - 1,514 - is 13 percent higher than it was in the same period last year. It's also higher than that of any of the previous eight years.

"We're just a really busy department here," Laursen said. "It's just the nature of the beast right now."

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While the number of ambulance calls this year is higher than last year, 27 percent fewer fires have been reported in that same time. Laursen said that's not specific to Mitchell and its surrounding area, and that numbers of reported fires are generally decreasing nationwide.

This year's 416 total fire department responses through September amount to the fewest fires reported since 2014, and that number is the median for the past nine years.

"Buildings and structures have improved throughout the years to where they're safer than what they used to be," Laursen said. "The other thing is a very proficient fire prevention program where we're getting out and talking to the kids, like during fire prevention week, and talking to different adults and (doing) social media programming. ... In my mind, it's making a difference, but maybe it's just pure luck."

Overall, Laursen indicated that while the numbers of fires and emergency situations may not be entirely similar to previous years', nothing about them is particularly abnormal.

The 15,295 total calls Mitchell's police, fire and EMS departments have received through September of this year is a number that's fairly comparable to those of the past two years, and between all three years, the number of calls through September only varies by about 700.

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