Message from the Fire Chief
On behalf of the men and women of Billings Fire / City-County 911 Center, I am pleased and honored to present the 2020 Annual Report.
2020 proved to be an extremely challenging year. At the year’s beginning, the BFD focused efforts to educate the City Council and citizens about the need for additional Fire / Rescue resources for our community. An independent study revealed that the BFD remains two fire stations and several firefighters below the national average, equating to slower response and service delivery times to our citizens.
The BFD experienced a continued increase of nearly 8% in Calls for Service, increasing from 17,000 in 2019 to over 18,000 in 2020. The increased severity and need for resources to mitigate these calls were unprecedented, but internal leadership remarkably took the initiative and handled the advanced volume.
With both the Fire and Police Chiefs' assistance, the City Administrator presented a $12 million Public Safety Mill Levy to our taxpayers to maintain our current service levels. We are very thankful that our community saw this need, voted on, and passed this levy on September 14, 2020.
The year's most significant challenge was COVID-19 and its detrimental effects on Fire / 911’s services and staff. The 911 Center experienced significant challenges in maintaining staffing due to the virus, and Fire adapted to new procedures for patient care. Strong teams of personnel worked very hard to set up a system to manage this pandemic, allowing us to keep the department's services operating at exceptional levels.
Once again, our community should be incredibly proud and thankful for Billings Fire / 911 staff who consistently perform with flexibility, ingenuity, professionalism, compassion, skill, and the strong desire to deliver exemplary Emergency Services to our community.