Updated 07/09/2012 05:53 PM
Calls into fire department expected to exceed record
The Syracuse Fire Department is expecting another record breaking year. Last year, they responded to 25,000 calls. And by the looks of it, they're going to exceed that this year. Our Iris St. Meran takes a look at the numbers.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Firefighters at Station 1 in Syracuse moved quickly to a call for help Monday afternoon. It's all in a day's work for them, but the call volume has been on the rise.
Fire Lieutenant and Syracuse Firefighters Local 280 Board Member Brian Sheerin said, "This year, June was a particularly busy month for us. We had a lot of fires. We had ten major fires that happened in the city and on two separate occasions, there were two of those fires going on at the same time."
Those fires were part of a record number of emergencies crews responded to last month alone. In total, there were 2,048 alarms recorded. Last year, a record was broken with more than 25,000 calls. The firefighters union expects to go beyond that with estimates of more than 26,000 this year. The chief says that spike has to do with the variety of calls they respond to.
"When a child is having an asthma attack, people dial 911, we go. If there's someone in a car accident, they call 911, we go. It's calls for the fire department, not just fires, EMS," said Fire Chief Mark McLees.
The biggest challenge so far hasn't been the numbers, but the heat.
McLees added, "When you throw on that turnout gear, you put the pack on your back, the firefighters are taking a pounding there."
The union doesn't want to deter people from calling. Although their workload is increasing, Sheerin says there's enough staff to handle it. They'll move crews from one station to staff one in a different section of the city that may be short staffed at the time.
"That's what we're paid to do and we've got a great bunch of men and women that love coming to work every day and helping the public out," said Sheerin.
The Syracuse Fire Association wants to remind everyone to have working smoke detectors installed in all bedrooms, common hallways, stairs and in both the basement and attic.