Sidney Fire gives annual report

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — The annual presentation on Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services was given during Monday’s Sidney City Council meeting.

Sidney Deputy Fire Chief Chad Hollinger presented council members with an overview of the department’s 2019 statistics.

The annual report included Sidney Fire’s fire prevention activities, training hours, operation activities, significant events, the incident densities and response times by district. He also displayed current to future comparison maps showing how a third fire station would make a difference in the average response times.

Hollinger’s report on fire prevention activities showed in 2019, the department conducted 475 fire prevention inspections, nine fire investigations, zero court ordered juvenile fire-setter program and 59 pre-K through fifth-grade school education programs to 3,112 young students. Hollinger explained the number of fire inspections had decreased last year compared to the 646 inspections conducted in 2018 because of the unexpected death of Fire Lt. Tony McLain on Nov. 21, 2018. Hollinger said in 2018 they had two experienced fire prevention officers on staff and after McLain’s passing, a new fire prevention officer had to be trained.

“Training is a big part of what we do at the fire department,” Hollinger said. “Last year received the new Rosenbauer Quint. And this vehicle especially is very different from what we have had in the past — much more computerized, much more technology in the apparatus — so it took us about two weeks for all of our members to get a basic understanding of how these various systems on the apparatus work.”

The department underwent 4,970 total hours of training in 2019, averaging 131 hours per person. Hollinger noted the 131 average hours is a little below Fire Chief Brad Jones’ department goal of 150 hours per person, but yet it is still much higher than the state requirements for re-certification. Paramedics must train 92 hours every three years, firefighters require 54 hours of continuing education, and Hollinger said he believes fire inspectors requires 24 hours of training.

In 2019, Sidney Fire received 4,250 calls for service.

“In 2019, the total calls for service came within 13 calls of our historic high that was established in 2017 (4263),” Hollinger said. “(The total number of calls) has fluctuated slightly here within the last four years.”

There were 486 EMS and 83 fire incidents within the 2019 operations of township activities, Hollinger said.

Among the significant incidents during 2019, Hollinger noted the most expensive event last year was a building fire on Ross Street in June. He said a fire pump burned up and the smoke damage both together caused $250,000 in damages to the property. Another building fire in April caused $243,340 in damages to a one-story residence on Old English Court.

Hollinger also reviewed the current to future comparison of the average response times in 2019. The response times were broken down between fire and medical calls. The fire data showed, in 2019, SFD responded 94 percent of the time in 6.5 minutes to the center portion of Sidney, 90 percent to the west, 38 percent to the contractual areas, and only 61 percent of the time to the north of town.

The standard is a 6 minute response time for EMS calls, Hollinger said. The medical call data for 2019 showed SFD successfully arrived within 6 minutes 90 percent of the time to the center of town, 84 percent to the west, 27 percent to the contractual areas, and 51 percent of the time to areas north of Russell Road.

“These two (maps) depict the difference between Sidney on the left without a third (fire) station and on the right with a third station,” Hollinger told council members who were viewing the color coded response time maps. “While we do not make the deep red completely disappear, the chosen site for the third station would greatly improve the response times, but also we have talked with council before about overlapping calls and additional staffing needed to help reduce the burden of the overlapping calls.”

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.