By MARY BARCZAK
Gold Standard Staff Writer
For the fourth year in a row, the Fort Knox Fire Department was chosen by the Installa-tion Management Command as its Atlantic Region’s Fire Department of the Year.
Fort Knox Fire Chief Marvin Gunderson said some of the criteria of the contest included how many departmental awards the station has earned and how its customer service ranked.
Gunderson said his department is very involved with technology.
Eight years ago Fort Knox did not have its own 911 call center. All emergency calls went to Hardin County. The information then had to be relayed to the fire department.
“We found it had a couple of issues,” Gun-derson said referring to the delayed response times at Fort Knox.
So emergency personnel from Fort Knox got together to form their own emergency management system, he said.
“We wanted to provide to better serve our customers at Fort Knox,” said Gunderson who has been the fire chief at Knox for 11 years.
The members were able to obtain funding and launched the system in 2005. The system includes trained dispatchers, 911 call center, building mass notification units and geographic information system mapping.
“This hardware makes our job easier and keeps the public safe,” he said.
Another asset of the fire department is fire prevention education.
“We only have about five reportable fires a year here at Fort Knox,” the chief said. “This is really phenomenal considering how many people live here, work here and play here.”
The education staff is adamant about attending community events and pushing the message.
“And people are hearing it,” he said.
But the chief said that the pride of his station goes beyond the physical accomplishments.
“It’s an attitude,” he said. “There’s a desire to do good and get better every day.”
And the firefighters stay busy. Besides the average three emergency calls they respond to every day, such as rescuing people from a stalled elevator, or assisting in a motor vehicle accident, they are constantly training.
“We don’t sit back and rest; we look for new ways for doing things better, cheaper and more efficient,” Gunderson said.