SIDNEY — The start of 2022 brings with the New Year numerous projects for the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Several capital projects will be accomplished in 2022 that will improve and enhance the delivery of emergency services to the public.

This year, city administration and city council authorized the department to hire one firefighter/paramedic. According to Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger, the city experienced declining income tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the decision was made to leave two positions open that were vacated when fire department personnel retired. This left the department with the same staffing that department had in 1993.

“As the economy has steadily recovered, we are excited to have the opportunity to add staffing back to our department,” Hollinger said.

Currently the three operations shifts, which work 24 hours on-duty followed by 48 hours off-duty, have one assistant fire chief, one lieutenant, and eight firefighter/paramedics for a total of 10 personnel with a daily minimum staffing of eight permitted. By adding one person to the department, two shifts will remain at 10 personnel and one will become a shift of 11 personnel.

A specifications committee has been working over the past several months to prepare plans to purchase a new medic for the department. Horton Emergency Vehicles in Grove City will be building the custom medic unit. This new medic will be almost identical to the medic unit that was purchased in 2020. These Horton medic units are anticipated to serve the fleet for 12 years before being replaced.

“The Horton medic purchased in 2020 has proven to be an outstanding addition to our fleet and we are excited to add another,” Hollinger said.

The department has four ambulances within the fleet and three of them are fully equipped as advanced life support (ALS) medics. This year, the department will purchase a Stryker/Physio-Control Lifepak 15 cardiac monitor and a Lucas Chest Compression System for the fourth medic unit.

“These two pieces of equipment will bring our entire fleet of medic units to the ALS level of capability,” Hollinger said.

Additionally, the department will be working with City IT personnel to upgrade their station notification system through enhanced integration with the city computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. The upgrades will provide real-time data back to the stations regarding the location and status of department apparatus and crews, as well as improving mapping features within the notification platform.

In 2022, the department will expand the vehicle exhaust capture system (Magne-Grip) at Station 1 to include two bays that currently do not have the system.

“This system is an effort to minimize the exposure of our personnel, gear, and equipment to the harmful effects of vehicle exhaust in the apparatus bays,” Hollinger said.

The last capital project of the year is a project that Council approved the use of American Rescue Plan Act funds to complete. Station 1, located at 222 W. Poplar St., will be receiving a new rubber membrane roof to replace the original roof that was installed in 1996 when the structure was built.

“Over the past five years, several costly repairs have been made to the roof. To ensure the structural integrity of the building for another 25 years, it is necessary to invest in projects that keep the structure weather tight as well as energy efficient,” Hollinger said.

By Blythe Alspaugh

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The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.