Without more volunteers, community’s safety at stake
“Fire and ambulance unable to respond to call.”
This is the headline we all may be seeing in the very near future, which has been an ongoing problem for years.
The sad truth for many departments around this country is not enough people are getting involved anymore.
While we are concerned for them, we are overwhelmed with concern about ours, Iola Fire and Ambulance.
For instance, 10 years ago on a fire alarm you could expect 10-12 firefighters to show up within 3-5 minutes, and be out the door. Today we struggle to get six firefighters out within the 5-minute mark. Many times, we leave the station shorthanded with five or even less.
This means we have a slower response time, require mutual aid from other departments, and do more with fewer personnel.
Because of national fire department standards, short-staffed crews will not be able to make entry into your home to try and save you or your loved ones. We will not be able to make entry to knock down a fire to save your valuable items. All because we do not have enough personnel to back up our own firefighters.
The same problem exists on the ambulance side, but this has dire consequences. For instance, the first ambulance is staffed 24/7, 365 days, the second ambulance only gets crewed when two additional EMTs show up for the second call.
When we don’t have enough people to get the second ambulance out, we have to call another town for support. When this happens, the response time goes up tremendously. A minimum of 15 minutes is how long you or your loved one will have to wait during your emergency. Ambulance personnel are being asked to go above and beyond to keep Iola ambulance up and running.
Long story short, it has become very difficult to keep the first ambulance crewed 24/7, 365 and even harder to get the second ambulance out the door.
Iola Fire Department and Iola Ambulance were both started for the same reason. Members of the community saw a need for these services and volunteered their time and their effort for the better of the community. The need has not gone away. It has only increased throughout the years.
What’s the fix? Well, it’s you. We need you to tell everyone that Iola Fire and Ambulance needs them. The sad truth is, if people don’t get involved with local departments, there won’t be a fire truck or ambulance when needed.
Fire trucks don’t become fire trucks until you put men and women inside. Ambulances are not ambulances until you put men and women inside. Are you one of those people?
Contact us today via Facebook, our website at www.iolafire.com, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 715-445-2515 or one of our current members.
Iola Fire Chief Jim Aanstad