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The Lake News Online
  • Fewer calls, but more fires in Sunrise Beach in 2013

  • While total run volume for the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District was down in 2013 from a record high in 2012, the district saw the number of reported structure fires increase.
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    • Annual call volumes
      550 calls in 2003
      530 calls in 2004
      601 calls in 2005
      703 calls in 2006
      652 calls in 2007
      602 calls in 2008
      634 calls in 2009
      618 calls in 2010
      7...
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      Annual call volumes
      550 calls in 2003

      530 calls in 2004

      601 calls in 2005

      703 calls in 2006

      652 calls in 2007

      602 calls in 2008

      634 calls in 2009

      618 calls in 2010

      711 calls in 2011

      743 calls in 2012

      676 calls in 2013
  • While total run volume for the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District was down in 2013 from a record high in 2012, the district saw the number of reported structure fires increase.
    Emergency responses by Sunrise Beach firefighters totaled 676 last year, down by 67 from 743 in 2012 and 711 in 2011 but still above all annual call volumes since 2006.
    "I would be cautious to read too much into the reduced number of responses the district made in 2013," said Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly.
    He attributed the overall decline to an "extraordinarily wet" natural cover fire season which reduced responses in that category to 72 after 109 in 2012.
    Emergency medical calls also decreased from 2012 to 2013, which Reilly related to changes in dispatching.
    "We believe the advent of our prioritized medical dispatching we have been able to eliminate some of the medical responses that really didn't require the fire district. I feel this is still a work in progress between the fire district and our EMS partner to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the public," he said. "I think the new dispatching system will continue to provide a means where the fire district can make better use of our resources."
    Medical calls are screened by dispatch and rated from alpha to echo with echo being the most seroius. In 2013, the district stopped going on alpha medical calls.
    As an example, an alpha call would be something like someone being sick for three days and calling 911 and asking to be taken to the hospital.
    "We still go to life-threatening or serious medical emergencies, or if the ambulance needs assistance lifting someone, but we no longer go to alpha calls," Reilly explained.
    While natural cover fires and medical calls were down, the number of structure fires rose from 40 in 2012 to 50 in 2013. That includes residential, commercial and storage buildings — any type of building.
    "I don't have a good explanation for that. We do see a lot of fire in this region. It could be the impact of not having building codes in the past or isolated neighborhoods. But it's a question I'm thinking about to make sure there's not something we could do to help keep that number down," Reilly said.
    The SBFPD is a 58-square-mile district with a combination of career and volunteer personnel.
    The district currently has nine firefighter positions divided into three platoons with a 10th firefighter in a floater position. Three more firefighter positions are opening this year after a levy increase was passed in 2013. In addition to the firefighters and chief, the department employs an assistant chief, fire marshal, dock inspector and administrative assistant.
     
     

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