The Chattanooga Fire Department responded to nearly 1,000 more calls in 2019 than the year before, according to numbers released Tuesday by the department.
CFD answered in 2019 more than 20,500 calls, which included more than 7,500 emergency medical services calls and nearly 1,600 "assist a citizen" calls. In 2018, the department responded to 19,600 calls, including 7,096 calls and 1,455 calls for assistance.
Firefighters handled 170 structure fires in 2019, which resulted in three civilian deaths, seven civilian injuries and three firefighter injuries. CFD estimates it saved $52.2 million in potential property damage from fire.
This fall, the department launched its CFD Connect program with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The program placed interns pursuing their master's degree in social work with the department to help with the high number of non-emergency calls, such as when someone needs help after falling. Capt. Skyler Phillips said in a December interview CFD Connect has saved the department an estimated $66,000.
In October, 23 new firefighters joined the department. In 2020, the department expects to have every firefighter assigned a ballistic vest to wear when responding to an active threat. Previously, vests were assigned to firetrucks because there were not enough.