The Blytheville Fire Department is under the direction of Fire Chief Mike Carney with 33 full-time firefighters. They operate from three fire stations and cover roughly 100 square miles. Firefighters work shifts of 24 hours on and 48 hours off. There are eleven firefighters on a shift. There are also four administrative employees who work Monday through Friday.
The department has some of the most modern equipment available, which includes:
- 100 foot platform apparatus
- 50 foot tele-squirt apparatus
- Six pumping apparatus
- One 2,500 gallon tanker
- One Hazardous Materials truck
- One service truck
In addition to their other duties, the firefighters do all of the routine maintenance on the vehicles and make sure each truck is cleaned and reloaded with water and other supplies immediately after each run so that it is ready for the next call.
The Blytheville Fire Department has a “protection class 3” insurance rating with the Insurance Service Organization. This helps lower the cost of fire insurance for our citizens.
Community Training & Education
The Blytheville Fire Department is very involved in teaching fire prevention to all the area school children and senior citizens groups. They visit the schools with fire trucks and give fire prevention talks and (weather permitting) do outside demonstrations. They give numerous tours of the facilities, showing off their apparatus, showing fire prevention videos and showing children how firefighters look in full gear.
Over the last few years, the department has averaged 500 fire runs a year. They also provide coverage for Mississippi County on any hazardous material releases that are called for by the Office of Emergency Services. Besides having 14 highly trained Haz-Mat team members, they also have a confined space rescue team with 20 members and a Hi-Angle rope rescue team with 6 members. All of these teams have had extensive training in their particular fields and some are even cross-trained.
All of the firefighters are certified Firefighter II by the Arkansas State Fire Academy. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for testing. It is a mandatory department policy that all new employees must attend and pass an eight-week course at the Fire Academy in Camden, AR. This along with a very stringent hiring process has given the citizens of Blytheville a very professional group of firefighters of which they can be proud.