EL DORADO— Fire Chief Chad Mosby started working for the El Dorado Fire Department at the age of 21, and has worked his way up through the ranks for the past 22 years. Mosby spoke about his passion for the fire department at the El Dorado Kiwanis Club meeting last Wednesday.
Mosby is a 1992 graduate of El Dorado High School and has an associate of applied science degree in emergency medical technology-paramedic from South Arkansas Community College. He is a nationally registered paramedic and has a bachelor’s of science degree in emergency administration management from Arkansas Tech University. Mosby was named fire chief in 2012.
“That’s what I’ve committed myself to,” Mosby said. “Serving the citizens of not only El Dorado, but Union County as well.”
The city has four fire stations within the city limits of El Dorado. There is the Central Station, which houses an Engine, a ladder and a shift commander. Station two holds an engine, medic, a reserve engine, a reserve medic unit and the technical rescue unit. Station three houses an engine, medic and the mass casualty response unit. Station four has an engine, medic and the hazardous material response unit.
“That distribution of fire stations affords us the ability to reach almost all addresses in the city limits within five minutes of the initial call,” Mosby said.
The fire department is comprised of 50 firefighters and is currently fully staffed. All of the firefighters work 24 hour shifts at a time. There are also four female firefighters staffed in the El Dorado Fire Department. “If you look statistically throughout the fire service, especially throughout Arkansas, we probably have more female firefighters per capita than other fire departments,” Mosby said.
Last year, the fire department made 3,644 ambulance/non-emergency calls and 700 fire calls. Out of those 700 fire calls, around 325 were actual fires. When a smoke alarm is set off in a home or business, and the fire department sends a response unit to it, it’s considered a fire call. “If you do the math, that’s a little over 10 calls a day,” Mosby said. “That’s one of the reasons why in a city like El Dorado, you have to rely on a volunteer force, because the call volumes are so high.”
The fire department not only does fire suppression, but they also promote fire prevention. The crews will go through businesses and buildings to plan out how they would take action in the event of a fire.
In 2014, the fire department received a new fire truck that the city was able to pay for through the reserve. A fire truck costs about half a million dollars and a ladder truck costs around a million and a half dollars. The lifespan of a regular fire engine is about 20 years and a ladder truck lasts around 30 years. They received their ladder truck in 2001.
El Dorado’s fire department is one of the only departments in the state that also run the ambulance service for the city. They have three life support ambulances throughout the city, Mosby said. “We can manage most acute medical conditions until we can get you to a hospital,” he said. “Everything from identifying cardiac problems, to administering medications and advanced airways.”
The El Dorado Fire Department works together with the other fire departments and the ambulance service in the county. There are 14 fire departments in Union County and ProMed, which is the county’s ambulance service. “If they become overwhelmed, we don’t hesitate and we send someone from our service out,” Mosby said.
The department also has the only hazardous material response team south of Little Rock, which is fitting because of the chemical plants, Mosby said.
“We have a large portion of our fire department that are hazardous material technicians,” he said. “They are specifically trained to deal with hazardous materials, whether they’re on the road or in a fixed facility.”
The fire department also has a technical rescue team, used for situations from confide space rescue to high angle rescue. A small portion of the firefighters are trained for air crash rescue as well. It is required that the city has an air crash rescue team at the airport in the event that a larger plane has to make an emergency landing.
The fire department encourages you to call them if you have a situation and do not know who to call. “Our mission has changed over the last 22 years that I’ve been here, from more of a strict fire prevention, to more of a hazards department,” Mosby said. “We may not be able to help you in your particular situation, but nine times out of ten, we cane direct you in the right spot.”
Kaitlyn Rigdon is a staff writer at the El Dorado News-Times and she may be reached at 870-862-6611 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.