SIDNEY — “As is true for many of our community partners, the past year has presented numerous challenges for the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services,” said Chief Chad Hollingr. “The COVID-19 pandemic occupied considerable time and effort as our staff navigated the changing conditions we all faced. The outpouring of support from the local community has been a blessing and we are thankful for the kindness and thoughtfulness shown towards us! It is our humble pleasure to serve the citizens of Sidney and Shelby County.”
Hollinger’s report continues:
The pandemic also had a significant impact on the local economy. The department made numerous cuts to address declining income tax collections. Unfortunately, the last necessary cut was to reduce staffing to bring the department budget in line with available funding. Two positions were left unfilled and unfunded due to attrition. This brought the departments daily operational staffing down to 10 per shift, which is the same as 1993. For comparison, in 1993 the department responded to 2,309 total runs (1,817 EMS and 492 fire/service).
During the past year, the department responded to 4,187 calls for service. This is the fifth 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 1,448 incidents (34.58%). The department received mutual aid from our county partners 14 times and gave aid on 114 incidents. There were 3,093 EMS calls and 1,094 fire calls for the year. The fire incidents resulted in three civilian injuries, zero fatalities, and one firefighter injury; and accounted for fire losses totaling $431,050.
The Fire Prevention Division performed 336 fire safety inspections and conducted 15 fire investigations (three township contractual areas / 12 city). Preventing fires and encouraging safe practices are key components of the division. With the COVID-19 pandemic occurring earlier in the year, FPO was unable to reach the schools and businesses within the City as part of their annual fire safety education classes. They are hoping to get back into the community in 2021.
Over 2,729 hours of department training was conducted in 2020. Personnel participated in medical training with specific classes in; Cardiac, Geriatric and Pediatric Protocol, Trauma, 12-Lead EKG, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and other EMS courses. Fire training included: pump operations, SCBA, search and rescue, and fire ground tactics. Technical rescue training included: ice rescue, swiftwater, trench rescue, rope rescue, vehicle/machinery rescue, hazmat operations, and confined space. Training outside the department was limited by the pandemic shutdown. Several outside classes were attended prior to the pandemic and others were attended virtually.
In May, Chance Guisinger, a 5-year member of the department, was named the 2019 Firefighter of the Year.
The department welcomed FF/EMT Josh Strawser on May 4, 2020, and FF/EMT Jared Lindsey on July 13, 2020. They have been a great addition to the Sidney Fire family and we look forward to many years of dedicated service with them.
In 2020, the department experienced the retirements of FF/Paramedic Steve O’Meara, FF/EMT Doug Stammen, LT/Paramedic Rod Dyer, AC/Paramedic Chris Niswonger, and Fire Chief Brad Jones. These five individuals had a combined total of over 142 years of service. These retirements resulted in the promotions of Bryan Ramge to lieutenant, Mark Barga to assistant chief, Dallas Davis to deputy chief, and Chad Hollinger to fire chief.
We look forward to carrying out our department mission with a renewed sense of dedication and service in 2021! Thank you for supporting us as we serve you.