DES MOINES, Iowa — The Des Moines Fire Department responded to a record number of calls for service in 2021, surpassing 30,000 responses for the first time in the department’s history.
The Des Moines Fire Department responded to 30,838 calls in 2021, an increase of roughly 8.5% from 2020, according to the City of Des Moines. The majority of the calls for service — nearly 20,000 — were for emergency medical services, which accounted for roughly 66% of the total calls.
“Long gone are the days where the Des Moines Fire Department’s purpose was simply to put out fires,” Des Moines Fire Department Chief John TeKippe said. “When you think about the fact that the majority of our calls now involve medical services, it opens your eyes to how skilled our firefighters really are.”
Around 900 calls were actually for fire-related incidents such as vehicle fires or structure fires. The remaining calls — roughly 10,000 — were for other situations involving hazardous materials, public assistance, false alarms and smoke scares.
The Des Moines Fire Department was able to meet the increased demands by adding a new station. Fire Station 11 serving Des Moines’ northeast side opened in November.
“We have plans for renovating and updating our existing fire stations to ensure that we can continue to handle the increasing demands for our services that have proven to be a vital part of public safety in Des Moines,” said TeKippe.
Additionally, the 98th Class of the Des Moines Fire Academy will start training 29 recruits on Jan. 10.