(Beaver Dam) Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says he would like to see a referendum on the November ballot asking voters to approve eight new positions in his department. The new positions were among the recommendations in a study unveiled earlier this month on staffing and the construction of a northside substation. The eight positions include six personnel to staff a third ambulance around the clock along with a dedicated fire inspector and a training chief. Mannel told us yesterday (Monday) on WBEV’s Community Comment that there are too many times that his department is not properly staffed to perform the job that citizens expect. The study says in 2017 there were 354 times that the first two ambulances were out at the same time; in 2018 that increased to 425 times.
“We used to call them doubleheaders,” he says, “and now we’ve got triple headers and quadruple headers. It’s kind of spinning out of control on us.”
Mannel noted that page 14 of the study states that the department has “a very fragile and unsustainable staffing environment.”
“That sentence right there really scares me,” the chief says.
The study also recommends building a substation / training facility in the area of Ganske Road/ County B, west of Highway 151, to help with response on the north side of the city. While he feels a northside substation would benefit the community, Mannel says he is not asking the community to fund the new facility yet, noting that staffing is an immediate need for public safety.
“I believe it is pretty clear to the public that we need more personnel,” he says, “the northside fire station, there’s still questions in some people’s mind if we need it at all…and I would hate to see the waters get muddied up with that issue when we have the very acute personnel issue now.”
The study will next be reviewed by the city’s Police and Fire Commission.
Read the study here: Beaver Dam FD Report Final strategic Management consulting 2-9-2020 (1)
Listen to Fire Chief Mannel on WBEV’s Community Comment here: