For the City Times
Submitted by Interim Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department Fire Chief Scott Young
The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department (WRFD) closed out 2017 with a record number of runs. For the year the department responded to 3869 calls for service. A breakdown of the runs shows that 3640 of those runs were EMS related, or nearly 94% of the department calls. The department responded to 46 fire alarms that were either structure, vehicle, or wildland related. The remainder of the alarms were fire alarm system activations, carbon monoxide or smoke detector activation, hazardous material responses, or burning complaints. The average of 10.6 runs per shift is nearly a 150 % increase in call volume since the department went to the paramedic level of service in 1997.
The WRFD also provides many non-emergency and community orientated services, which include: department members conducting 1,054 fire inspections, placed on stand-by for 608 confined space entries, attended every elementary school in Wisconsin Rapids during fire prevention week to discuss fire safety with all 1st and 3rd graders, and providing numerous EMS special event coverage for activities such as the national BMX races, Renaissance Race Against Cancer, Encourage Community Picnic, and the 4th of July celebration. The above items are just a glimpse of how he department is involved in community activities beyond responding to 911 calls.
In June of 2017 the department was notified that we received approval for EMS re-accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. WRFD is one of only two services in the State of Wisconsin to achieve this recognition. The department is extremely proud of the services that we offer the community and EMS accreditation validates the professionalism and skills of our EMS services. Another benefit of accreditation is that many steps of the process can be applied to the different areas of operation within the department.
In 2018 the department expects to be just as busy. If recent trends continue emergency responses will have us on the move. The department plans to hold an open house in late May or early June to show and educate the public of all the services WRFD provides to the community. It is easy to overlook the fact that while the department provides many different services there is an individual commitment that requires coordination by our training officer to align the hundreds of hours of training, continuing education and re-certifying to stay proficient when called upon. The open house is our opportunity to say thank you for all of the public support we have received over the years and showcase our member’s skills.
Other events that you will see the department at in 2018 include the Special Olympics Polar Plunge in early February, the annual MDA fundraiser in June, the city’s annual 4th of July celebration, Central Wisconsin BMX events throughout the summer, the Renaissance Race Against Cancer, the annual Final Alarm and Procession ceremony in early October, and Assumption and Lincoln football games.
The final item I would like to touch on is the support that Aspirus/Riverview hospital has provided us over the years. One of our latest initiatives is partnering with Aspirus/Riverview hospital to continue and expand on the departments community care paramedic program. The hospital administration, the departments medical directors, and the Aspirus/Riverview Health Care Foundation have committed to fund and continue another year of this program. The goal of this program is to improve the overall health of the community by delivering health care in the most effective and efficient manner. The department is excited to be part of a program that focuses on prevention and education of illnesses before a patient needs WRFD or the emergency department services. This program is offered at no cost to the residents in our EMS coverage area of; City of Wisconsin Rapids, Village of Port Edwards, Village of Biron, and the town of Saratoga.