The year 2020 was far from normal, yet statistically, the year was about normal for the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department.

“It’s been a challenge for sure,” said fire department chief Brian Nickerson, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “But the organization, the people in it, are very resilient and it amazes me of how we can do what we do with what we have.”

The department responded to 2,307 calls, just below the 2,340 it averaged from 2015 to 2019.

Seventy-three percent of those calls were rescue and emergency medical service incidents, which Nickerson said are typically medical calls or motor vehicle crashes.

The next highest call group, at 8 percent, was false alarms and false calls. The 191 false alarms were slightly up from the last two years, Nickerson said. No tickets were issued for the false alarms last year.

Fifty-six fires, or about 2 percent of the overall call volume, were reported in 2020.

October was the busiest month in 2020 as the department responded to 251 calls.

Historically, February and July are the department’s highest call volume months, averaging 218 calls in each of those months. June is typically the slowest month with the department averaging 159 calls.

Nickerson said he could not pinpoint why October 2020 was so busy. In general, he said call loads are “balanced” across days of the week and months.

He said response times to incidents have not changed.

“We’ve stayed pretty dang consistent throughout this whole thing,” said Nickerson, referring to COVID-19.

In 2020, 31 percent of the incidents the department responded to were overlapping, meaning it responded to more than one call at a time.

The department has about 124 volunteers to respond to calls, which is above its 116-volunteer average from 2011 to 2020.

Nickerson said volunteer numbers fluctuate greatly throughout the year and that he is always looking for volunteers because of that.

“Overall, I think we’re doing remarkably well,” he said.

Nickerson gave an annual report, including the call statistics, at the Moscow City Council meeting Tuesday night.

Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to

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