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Thiensville fire calls down in 2012

Mequon's new EMS service cuts into department's stats

Aug. 20, 2013

Thiensville — In 2012, fire and emergency medical services volunteers responded to fewer calls, cumulatively devoted more than 1,000 hours of uncompensated time and grew as an overall force.

Details of the Thiensville Fire Department's operations have been outlined in the organization's 2012 annual report, which was presented to and approved Monday by the Village Board.

In year-over-year comparisons, Thiensville's department was dispatched to fewer calls in 2012, vs. 2011. Last year, personnel went to 827 calls, a decrease of 168 calls from the 995 logged in 2011.

Fire Chief Brian Reiels attributed the drop off to a change in the department's relationship with the Mequon Fire Department. Prior to 2012, Thiensville had provided Mequon with EMS services, but the agency has since moved toward its own in-house program.

Response time remains fast

"Although call volume dipped, it was far from catastrophic," Reiels said. "We were able to maintain our great response times, averaging six-and-a-half minutes from page to scene in the village."

Reiels said he views Thiensville's on-call, volunteer-based numbers as being on par with the results coming out of a full-time fire department.

In 2011, 30 percent of Thiensville's EMS calls were from Mequon. But other nearby Ozaukee County communities, including Cedarburg and Grafton, contract with the department for EMS services as well. In 2012, Reiels said there had been an increase in calls coming out of both communities.

Historically, the bulk of the department's calls are EMS related, and the trend continued last year. Of the 827 calls, 552 were EMS. The second largest category, accounting for 135 of the calls, were dispatched to personnel, but canceled while crews were en route to the scene of the call.

Strictly fire-related calls increased in 2012. There were 24 such calls last year, and 21 logged in 2011. The category covers a wide range of incidents, from actual building fires to small occurrences within a home or business.

Vehicle accidents dip, too

Crew members were dispatched to far fewer motor vehicle accidents last year. In 2011, there were 44 calls that required fire and EMS assistance; last year, there were 16 calls.

There were a series of hires and departures throughout 2012. In his report, Reiels said the department hired 11 members and retained eight of the personnel by the end of the year.

"Three of the 11 that were not retained were released during probation due to performance-related issues," Reiels said. "Seventy-three percent retention in the first year exceeds the national volunteer fire service average by 23 percent."

With new staff figured into the mix, Reiels said the department as a whole has an average of seven years of service per person.

Although they work part-time, on-calls hours, members of the Thiensville Fire Department donated their time in 2012 to take part in a number of community programs, including training and education programs focused on CPR, trick-or-treating safety, public safety awareness and visits to area schools for Fire Prevention Month in October.

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