Madison Fire Department has noticed they have been equally busy with calls year-round apart from BYU-Idaho’s seven-week break when most of the students leave campus.
“When students leave during the seven-week break, our call volume goes down,” said Cory Child, who is the Fire Chief for the department. “When students come back, we definitely feel an uptick in the number of calls, both medical and fire.”
As new and ongoing students return to campus, Rexburg’s population naturally increases. Teens and young adults flood the town and local grocery stores for food and college life supplies.
When the first week of classes finish, college life can become busier with assignments, social life, exams and, most importantly, being independent. This adjustment, if the students are not well educated, could cause accidental harm.
“University life is pretty busy,” said Child. “You start cooking and a friend comes over and takes your attention away. As you chase butterflies, the pot keeps boiling and a fire erupts.”
According to Child, Rexburg is one of the safest cities in Idaho. The city has adopted the International Fire Code, which contains regulations to safeguard life and property from fires and explosion hazards. This means that Madison County buildings are built safely.
The proof is within the department: as fires stay low, so does the staff.
“You would definitely need more staff because the fires would be bigger,” said Child.
Madison Fire Department has great relations with BYU-I. Each semester the department runs an education program where students can apply for classes and get their structural firefighter, wildland and hazardous materials certifications.
“I went to BYU-I and majored in public health,” said Derrick Detavis, a firefighter at Madison Fire Department. “It is a privilege to be there for those who need help.”