Firefighters answer call for St. John Parish

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

LAPLACE — One of the best ways to ensure safety through a fire is prevent one from starting in the first place.

First responders with the St. John the Baptist Parish Fire Department recognize this and work to schedule speaking engagements with local school, business and civic organization members, offering an array of safety information and demonstrations.

Chief of Operations Cain Dufrene also stresses to St. John Parish residents that fire fighters are happy to install working fire detectors when contacted.

Those interested in details of the service are asked to call 985-652-2222.

Dufrene said overstressed electrical sockets are a constant source of concern for fire fighters.

Prevention and early detection remain the public’s top tools in surviving a fire.

Fortunately for local residents, a deep and dedicated group of responders, including 43 staff members and approximately 30 volunteers, provide fire protection 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year in St. John Parish.

The department mans six stations across the parish, as well as volunteer stations, and Dufrene said at least 12 fire fighters, including 2 district chiefs, are on duty at any one time.

The entire River Parishes community, especially the fire department, was rocked Aug. 28 when 36-year-old District Chief Spencer Chauvin was killed during department response to a motor vehicle wreck on Interstate 10.

Dufrene said firefighters were told to take all the time necessary in the grieving process before returning to work, adding access to counselors was provided to anyone who needed them.

Dufrene said local firefighters showed great resolve in the aftermath of Chauvin’s death, adding applications for volunteers actually saw a slight uptick.

There remains a need for volunteers, and those interested must be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED or be working to complete one. If you are interested in learning more about the volunteer program, call 985-652-2222.

The St. John Fire Department staffs a full-service crew that responds to all non-law enforcement emergency calls, using personnel trained in fire protection, EMS, HAZMAT and more. According to Dufrene, the department also responds to the occasional “cat-in-a-tree” call.

When not responding to emergency calls, fire department personnel maintain a rigorous training and education program that has earned St. John numerous accolades.

The St. John Parish Office of Fire Services placed first this year in the Louisiana State Firemen’s Association Competitive Drills competition — the third year in a row they accomplished such a feat.