SIDNEY — Sidney Fire Chief Brad Jones presented Sidney City Council with the fire department’s annual report and introduced newly hired Firefighter Quinten Pence during Monday evening’s meeting.
Jones said Pence’s first day with the Sidney Fire Department was Jan. 30. He is a Houston High School graduate and completed his level I and II firefighting certification and EMT basic certification at the Ohio Fire Academy in 2015. He had been serving as a volunteer firefighter with the Houston Fire Department since 2014.
During Jones’ annual 2016 report, he shared the fire department conducted 349 fire prevention inspections, compared to 648 in 2015, and 582 in 2014; 24 fire investigations, compared to 17 in 2015, and 24 in 2014; had zero juveniles partake in the court ordered Juvenile Firesetter Progam, versus four in 2015, and 17 in 2014; and educated 2,300 students each year over the last three years.
There was a combined total 4,082 calls for EMS and fire service, resulting in $637,095 in fire loss in 2016; compared with 3,855 calls and $843,650 in fire loss in 2015; and 3,594 calls and $1,112,705 in fire loss in 2014.
Among Township operations’ activities, there were 380 EMS incidents and 89 fire incidents.
Firefighters participated in total of 5520 training classes last year. Jones reported all response times averaged less than 6.5 minutes in 2016. He noted that there were deficiencies on the north end, which everyone is aware of and that the city is taking steps to address. Last July, council approved approved a contract for the purchase of land located at 2401 Wapakoneta Ave. for a future fire station to better serve the north-end needs of Sidney.
Jones said plans for the fire department in 2017 includes:
• MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communication System) radio upgrades, including training for police, dispatch and fire. Sidney is first within the county to make the upgrade. Jones said MARCS was already purchased and the goal for transition and complete implementation is set for mid-April.
He said the upgrade “a long time coming,” as their current system is at its end. Jones said they had been seeking replacement parts on E-Bay when repairs are necessary.
Councilmember Darryl Thurber asked if there would be any dead-time (as a result of the changing systems) and expressed concern of the ability to respond to calls and about safety during the transition.
Mayor Mike Barhorst asked how easily it would be to communicate with other departments in the county who haven’t been able to upgrade to the new system.
Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked if the city would be able to sell the older units once they were certain they would not be needed.
Jones reassured council it will work despite being a different and newer system than other departments may use. He said they plan to utilize the new system for a full 30 days side-by-side with the current dispatch radio system to ensure a smooth transition; Jones acknowledged it is “a life-line.” He also said they plan to keep about 20 older units on hand, and hope to sell the rest.
• Assemble 2018 capital committees for the replacement of Quint, a fire service apparatus and SCBA, a self-contained breathing apparatus; Jones they plan to do the “leg work” this year to prepare the necessary information for replacements planned as apart of the 2018 budget.
• Regional training/Edison; training with Piqua and Troy’s Fire Departments to ensure help for one another if the need arises.
• Full scale Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) drill and Emergency Operations Center (EPC) training on March 15. The department continuously participates in this epic four-year cycle of training; 2017 is last stage and year four of the cycle. The four-year training will then begin all over again at stage one in 2018.
Both Councilmembers Janet Born and Thurber praised and thanked Jones and First Responders for their work.
In other business, City Manager Mark Cundiff provided a brief overview of the upcoming Zoning Board/Planning Commission Agenda on Tuesday Feb. 14, 2017, and review of the prospective City Council Agenda items for the next 30 days.
In addition, council held an executive session for a pending or imminent court action, the discipline of a public official/employee, to prepare for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees and to consider the purchase of property for public purposes. No action was taken when they emerged from the executive session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.