At the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department’s first meeting of the new year, Chief John Phillips and the members of the department reflected on the past year and readied for the new one.

The meeting began by remembering those who had passed, and those that are sick or injured, including members of the Mint Hill community, and people throughout the nation.

Three applications were accepted, and those potential members began their 90-day probation period, while that period ended for six others, who were accepted into full membership with the department.

Final statistics from 2012 were reviewed: 3,334 total calls for service, an 11 percent increase from 2011.

Seventy six percent of those were EMS calls, and 24 percent fire calls, which Phillips said was a consistent ratio. The average response time was 6:55, and the department completed 8,879.25 hours of total training.

Chief Phillips reflected on the happenings of the last year, including the search for Kayla Campbell in Mint Hill, the shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the firefighters that were shot at responding to calls in both Webster, N.Y., and Hoover, Ala.

“Please remember the world we live in,” said Phillips, urging his firefighters to keep their heads on swivels. “Mint Hill, North Carolina is no different from Newtown, Connecticut, Webster, New York, or Hoover, Alabama.”

Phillips also reflected on the department’s search for Kayla Campbell, the teenage Mint Hill resident who went missing in early December, and was later found deceased.

Critiquing the two and a half day search, Phillips said it went well, but the things the department needed to work on were keeping sensitive information confidential, and they recognized the need to access a large computer, and have the ability to print things on the scene of an incident.

The new 2013 department officers were announced and upcoming training was discussed, as was the nearly 9,000 hours of training done in 2012 by MHVFD, a considerable amount of training, described by Phillips as a “ton of work.”

Other matters discussed included needed gear for both fire and EMS crews, ID badges, and Active 911, an application for smart phones and other devices that allows first responders to receive calls on whatever device the application is downloaded.