Mark Pure has overseen Greenacres Fire Rescue for 10 years. He currently serves as chief of the Fire Rescue Division for Greenacres Public Safety. Pure started working for the city as a paramedic in 1994 and worked his way up to firetruck driver-pump operator and a lieutenant in charge of emergency rescue services before being named division chief.
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career as an emergency first responder?
A: I’ve always wanted to be in a field where I could help people and make a difference in someone’s life. I realized when I was around 27 years old that I wanted to pursue what would make me happy in life. I’ve never regretted it.
Q: How many firefighters work for Greenacres Fire Rescue?
A: We have 37. Everyone is either a firefighter-paramedic or firefighter-emergency medical technician (EMT).
Q: How large an area does Greenacres Fire Rescue protect?
A: We cover 5.5 square miles, including the city of Atlantis. It’s about 40,000 people.
Q: How many calls does your department get?
A: We had 4,980 calls last year, an average of just under 14 calls a day. About 86 percent of the calls were for medical services.
Q: How long does it take for Greenacres firefighters to reach people after calls are made to 911?
A: Our average response time is 5 minutes, 6 seconds. The national average is 8 minutes.
Q: Do you ever get out of the office to help out with fires and rescues?
A: Yes, usually on major car crashes or serious fires. My staff will call me if they’re getting overloaded and need help.
Q: You and your firefighters see the tragic results of mistakes out there. What do you tell people to help them avoid situations that lead to rescue calls?
A: If you have a pool, put a fence around it. Wear seat belts. Use car seats for young children. Put smoke detectors in your house, and make sure your car shuts off when you get home. Just be aware and take care of yourself.
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: I ride my Harley-Davidson Street Glide with my wife, Tracy. We ride on weekends with a group of friends. We’ve taken several trips out West on the bike, including rides through California, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
Q: Do you teach basic rescue methods to the public?
A: Yes. We teach American Heart Association CPR classes once a month on Saturdays. It costs $30. You can schedule a class by calling 561-642-2146.
Q: What is hands-only CPR?
A: It’s simple method of administering CPR that anyone can do. Palm Beach County’s EMS providers organized a hands-only CPR training day for the public Feb. 9. Fire departments throughout the county trained 336 people, including 56 at the Greenacres Public Safety building. We plan to hold CPR Day to train the public during the second week of February every year.