NEW CONCORD — Village Council unanimously adopted several, emergency ordinances Monday that will pave the way for some firefighters and emergency medical technicians to be employed part-time by the village.
The action comes in response to a dramatic increase in the number of calls directed to the fire department.
“This will [ensure] that two people are on duty 24/7,” Mayor Greg Adams said.
The mayor said the department has been averaging nearly three calls per day.
As a result of the increased volume, three negative consequences have ensued:
• The chief, as the only member of the fire department who is paid by the village, has had to respond to a disproportionate number of calls (about 75 percent of the calls),
• Response time has, in many cases, slowed, and
• The number of instances in which the department has been unable to respond to a call has increased.
The number of paid part-time firefighter/EMTs will be seven or eight and they will receive from $8 to $12 per hour.
“They will be paid with money from our carryover fund,” said Adams, adding that council’s action will be a short-term solution that probably will extend only through the end of next year.
After that, the issue may have to be put to voters to decide whether they are willing to pass a levy to help keep the level of service as high as it has traditionally been.
Adams said that just over half of the calls for assistance are from members of the public living outside the village limits. So, part of the long-term solution may be to take a regional approach to fire and ambulance protection, he said.
The number of runs for firefighters in July was 18; for EMTs, it was 80.