BRIDGEPORT- The Bridgeport Fire Department (BFD) is ready to say goodbye to 2020, as they prepare to welcome 2021.
The department, like many others, are hoping to see normalization again as they usher in the new year.
According to Bridgeport Fire Department Chief Phil Hart, COVID-19 has placed the BFD in a standstill with some of their training, annual events and fundraisers.
During the pandemic, the BFD has had to limit access to the building and follow strict protocol, although with proper social distancing, they still assisted with hanging of the lights in downtown Bridgeport for this year’s light up night, hoping to brighten up the community’s spirit during the pandemic.
And while their extra activities have been postponed, the department has continued to stay busy, serving the community.
Chief Hart shared the BFD has a roster of thirty firefighters, two engine trucks, two ladder trucks, two ambulances, one rescue truck and one ATV. He reported that the department responded to approximately 2,400 calls this year combining fire, EMS and any other calls needing assistance from the department.
He also shared one of the BFD goals for 2021 would be to receive a Class 1 rating, as they are currently sitting at a Class II rating.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) collects information on municipal fire departments and then assigns them with a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior fire protection services, while Class 10 represents a service level that doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum fire protection criteria.
That information is then used to help insurance companies determine fire insurance premiums and also provide communities with an opportunity to evaluate the services being provided by their fire department.
Although they are aiming for a better rating for the department, Hart expressed that he wants 2021 to be an overall safe year.
The BFD has also held discussions about possible remodels at their facility, and Hart voiced would like to see those plans come through in the new year.
Twenty-seven-year-old BFD firefighter Zachary Bradfield expressed that in the upcoming year he would like to see COVID-19 get resolved and some normalization back at the station.
Along with working toward taking his apprenticeship test, Bradfield has answered an approximate 800 calls this year.
The dedicated firefighter lives in Fort Ashby, West Virginia and drives about two hours to work. He may work for BFD, but also belongs to Fort Ashby Volunteer Fire Department.
Bradfield shared “It’s the job itself, fighting fire, the work environment, and technical rescue I enjoy it all!”
Chief Hart expressed his deepest gratitude to all other fire departments who respond when called upon for assistance, along with all law enforcement who help and take the time to guide traffic.
Hart revealed that most of the fires the department responded to were residential, although they assisted on some larger structure fires. Whichever may occur, small or large fires, BFD is glad to have helping hands from all departments and is happy to serve the residents of Bridgeport and beyond.