Fire dept.'s activity increase is slight

by KEN LAHMERS | EDITOR Published:

Aurora -- The local fire department saw only a small increase in fire alarms and rescue calls in 2013, compared to the year before, according to Fire Chief David Barnes' annual report, copies of which are given to the mayor and Council reps.

Crews responded to 1,498 rescue calls (1,472 in 2012) and 386 fire alarms (369 in 2012). Total calls amounted to 1,884, compared to 1,841 the year before. In the last five years, 2011 saw the most fire alarms and rescue calls at 424 and 1,658, respectively.

Barnes reported fire loss was estimated at $242,060, mostly because of a fire at a house on North Chillicothe Road in March and a garage fire on Lloyd Avenue in May. A man died in the house fire, but the county coroner determined it was from an unrelated cause.

"A major project last year was receiving a new [Rosenbauer] pumper truck to replace a 1988 vehicle," said Barnes. "We also made a monetary contribution for the renovation of the city's dispatch center. Funding for both came from our fire/paramedics levy."

Barnes said Lt. Matthew McBirney and firefighter Ed Grecol taught several fire extinguisher classes to more than 600 employees of businesses, while firefighter Mike Overholt certified 440 people after teaching health care provider CPR and heartsaver AED classes.

Some of the topics for paramedics covered at training sessions by department medical director Dr. Marc Allen were heat-related illnesses, strokes, aortic dissection, vascular anatomy, concussions, blast injuries, hypoglycemia and geriatrics.

SOME AREAS covered at fire / rescue training sessions were self-contained breathing apparatus, radios and communication, foam systems, extrication tools, getting familiar with buildings housing restaurants, ground ladder deployment, rapid intervention, vertical ventilation and suppression tactics for single-family homes.

Firefighters participated in two water shuttles in Streetsboro and Windham. With the Portage County water rescue team, firefighters attended training sessions on ice diving and swift water rescues. With the Portage County search and rescue team, they attending training sessions on trench rescues, structural collapse, elevated patient rescues and Hazmat situations.

Department personnel made presentations to daycare centers and schools, participated in Truck Day and What's Holding You Back?" at Aurora Farms Premium Outlets and Miller School Vehicle Day, conducted fire extinguisher training for businesses and installed 88 child safety seats in residents' vehicles.

Other tasks included installing smoke detectors in homes, reviewing building plans, monitoring construction at the Atrium at Anna Maria and other businesses and making 152 fire pre-vention inspections.

The Portage County Fire Investigation Team handled 21 callouts, including three fire investigations in Aurora -- one determined to be accidental, one arson and one undetermined.

On a positive note, Capt. Bill Lovell and three local police officers received Red Cross Real Heroes Awards for rescuing a woman from a burning house.

On a sad note, firefighters paid their respects after the sudden death of retired dispatcher Rich Haverlack.

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189

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