SIDNEY — The Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services had a tremendous year in 2022.
“The department was authorized to return to full staffing of 11 personnel per shift. This staffing level was last maintained from 1999 to the Great Recession in the late 2000’s. City staff and department leadership are excited to see this goal accomplished and are working diligently to continue to move the department forward in 2023,” said Chief Chad A. Hollinger.
His report continues:
A feasibility study was conducted by Freytag & Associates in 2021 to identify issues related to Station 2 (411 S. Vandemark). The results of this study revealed that is most appropriate to replace the station. Work began on securing property close to the current location. In late 2022, an agreement was reached to purchase property on Campbell Road adjacent to the current city campus on Vandemark Road. In 2023, design and engineering work will be completed for this replacement. This station blueprint will be utilized to only replace Station 2, but will be utilized in the construction of Station 3.
Lt. Greg Francis retired in late October 2022 with over 23 years of service to the department and prior to service in other city departments. His retirement prompted the promotion of Firefighter Chance Guisinger to lieutenant. As the department returned to full staffing, it was necessary to hire new firefighters. In August 2022, Carter Jenkins, Alex Herron, Nick Baker and Bryce Barhorst joined the organization.
When Lt. Francis retired, the subsequent promotion of Lt. Guisinger created another opening that was filled by Ricardo Lenhart in November. Finally, in December 2022 a member of the department took a position with the Huntsville, Alabama, fire department and this vacancy was filled by Terrence Vaughan. With the multitude of new members, the department focus continues to be training.
During the past year, the department responded to 4,127 calls for service. This is the seventh year in a row that our calls for service have exceeded 4,000 alarms. Overlapping calls (multiple incidents occurring at the same time) occurred on 1,271 incidents (30.8%). The department received mutual aid from our county partners 16 times and gave aid on 34 incidents. There were 3,001 EMS calls and 1,126 fire calls for the year.
The Fire Prevention Division performed 217 fire safety inspections and conducted 25 fire investigations (10 county and township contractual areas/15 city). Due to decreased staffing levels, prevention officers were reassigned to operations crews to reduce overtime expenses for portions of 2022. This resulted in fewer education and inspection efforts for the year. Preventing fires and encouraging safe practices are key components of the division.
Over 4,190 hours of department training was conducted in 2022. This continued focus on training will remain a high priority for the department in 2023. Training is a key component for staff to be able to effectively and efficiently manage the emergencies we respond to. The staff remains enthusiastic and energetic regarding training. They work hard to deliver the timely, professional, and compassionate care that our community expects.
In conclusion, the next few years will be years of exceptional growth for the community and department. As new businesses and housing are coming to the community, the necessary emergency services will need to grow proportionately. With business and housing growth comes additional revenue that staff believes will provide for this expansion of your emergency services. On behalf of the members of the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services, I thank you for entrusting us with the opportunity to “serve and protect the community by preventing the loss of life and property.”