Grand Forks Fire Department calls rise from 2020 to 2021

The total includes all sorts of calls to the department, ranging from fires to myriad emergency medical calls.

Grand Forks fire truck - lucin.jpg
Herald file photo
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GRAND FORKS – The Grand Forks Fire Department has seen a rise in call volume in recent years, including a jump from 2020 to 2021.

Two years ago, there were 5,166 calls to the GFFD; in 2021, the number was 5,632. The total includes all sorts of calls to the department, ranging from fires to myriad emergency medical calls.

Along with call volume, the total number of fires in Grand Forks in 2021 was up slightly from 2020. In 2021, there were 130 fires, with 42 being structure fires and 19 fires related to cooking. This is compared to 90 fires in 2020, which saw 31 structure fires and 11 cooking fires.

Deputy Chief Bruce Weymier said there are no specific reasons for the increase in fires in 2021, but the overall call volume is likely related to an increasing city population.

Weymier said the department’s goal is a turnout time of 80 seconds or less for structure fires and 60 seconds or less for emergency medical assists. This includes the time it takes for crews to get dressed, get in the vehicles and get out of the station.


“The response times are good. We could always be a little better because the only one that we can really control is what we call our turnout time, and that’s from the time that our dispatch starts to the time that we go en route to the call,” he said.


Within the past year the department, which has a total staff of 79, has upgraded technology by implementing a new incident record management system in January of 2021. Weymier said it has made reporting better and data easier to access.

The department also applied for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services/Division of Homeland Security grant in 2021, resulting in a grant of $144,910. Weymier said the money from the grant will go toward maintenance, equipment and training. The department is among the North Dakota Technical Rescue and Hazmat Response teams, along with Fargo, Minot and Bismarck crews.

Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 701-780-1267 or

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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