JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s something fire officials say many people don’t think about — the amount of non-fire related calls to which crews respond.

“It’s not always a fire that you see, you know, the fire department running to. But all of them are important to the community,” said Andy Nimmo, Deputy Fire Chief, Joplin Fire Department.

The “Joplin Fire Department” has certainly worked its share of fires recently.

But besides working fires, crews respond to accidents, “EMS” calls, lift assists, and also help residents install smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

On average, the department responds to 25 various calls a day.

“We’re really the only entity that is kind of set up in a position where we can do it. We’re available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. And, we’re close to everyone, you know, we have a fire station that’s close to everyone in town, and so it gives us the opportunity to provide those services, where somebody else it may be a little more difficult to,” said Nimmo.

Nimmo says these calls are never a waste of resources.
Response to calls often comes down to prioritizing the varying calls between emergent and non-emergent.

“We’ve got what’s called computerized dispatching. And when we get a call entered by our dispatchers, and our dispatchers do a tremendous job in kind of, you know, managing those types of calls as well, but the computerized dispatching will actually prioritize a more urgent call if we’re headed to something that’s not as urgent. It may be something that we have to go back to later,” said Nimmo

They’re also often called to do things like shutting off the water with a specific tool, when the water company can’t make it in time.

No matter what the call is Nimmo says it’s all just part of the job.

It’s something he likes to call “customer service.”

“It’s just one of those situations where if they don’t know what to do, if they don’t know how to handle the situation, um, and it’s an emergency, or even if it’s not an emergency, or it’s something that is going to damage their property or whatever the case may be, they can always call and see if there’s something we can do to help them,” said Nimmo.