Pine Bluff Arsenal's Directorate of Public Works Fire and Emergency Services Division was named U.S. Army Material Command Small Fire Department of the Year for 2012. Fire Chief Jackie Doherty was notified in March of the award; however, a formal announcement letter from AMC was received recently.

"We also found out that we were close in the running for U.S. Army Small Department of the Year -- the overall DoD award," said Doherty. "We were edged out by Fort Meade (Md.) by less than half a point."

Doherty said that he is extremely proud of the firefighters and support staff for all their hard work, dedication and sacrifices it takes to win and compete for such an award. "Regardless of the challenges we face in this time of financial uncertainty, these dedicated folks still maintain a high performance level supporting the men and women of the Arsenal," he said. "Their hard works allows our production folks to continue to get the products in the hands of the warfighter."

There are several criteria that the Arsenal's fire department had to meet while competing for this award. Some of the categories include customer service, innovativeness, quality of life initiatives, firefighter health and safety initiatives and department level awards and recognitions.

"We have done quite a bit in the training area of our operations," said Doherty. "Being able to cut down on re-inspections and fire prevention areas helped, and also have a zero dollar fire loss is big. The fire warden program has been a big asset which has helped us to cut down on re-inspections in certain areas of the Arsenal."

Other points mentioned in the package that was submitted for the award include:
•Coordination of trainings with the Redfield, Ark. Fire department in live fire scenarios.
•Eighteen firefighters received performance awards for achievement. This was a record setting number.
•Partnership with Directorate of Engineering and Technology in the ammunition areas to provide critical high-speed deluge system operational checks, protective shielding and education, prior to pyrotechnic research and development processes.
•Maintain and provide mutual aid to 29 surrounding communities.
•Zero write-ups during ISO 14001 audit, contributing to Arsenal ISO certification.
•Participated in eight official community events/ceremonies providing education and support.

"The Pine Bluff Arsenal Fire Department is the quintessential high- reliability organization. When you call 911, you can rest assured they'll rapidly be on the scene and mitigate the situation," said Mike McCormack, Public Works director. "These folks are just totally awesome; it's no surprise they have been selected as the AMC Small Fire Department of the Year for 2012. The significance of PBA being selected is massive. Our fire department was selected over some very competitive departments. This speaks volumes to not only the knowledge, skills and abilities our firefighters possess, but also to their passionate dedication and devotion to the Pine Bluff Arsenal family."