(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam Common Council Monday night was presented with the findings of a study on staffing and the need for a northside fire station. The city’s Police and Fire Commission approved the hiring of Strategic Management of Sturgeon Bay in October, the same company that coincidentally was commissioned by Dodge County to study issues with staffing local EMS departments.
Consultant Dana Sechler says they found Beaver Dam has a daily staffing shortage based on current call volumes. The city has two ambulances, staffed 24-hours a day. The study showed that there were a number of times that the city handled a third and fourth call at the same time with just enough of a crew. Sechler says the issue has been mitigated by paging off-duty and paid-on call personnel to return to work as a stop gap measure.
For a low-level fire call, Sechler says Beaver Dam is meeting the minimum recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, if there is not another call at the same time. Such situations are currently handled with mutual aid or by having a crew break away from an active scene. Sechler says the department is doing a good job “getting by.”
Sechler says the overtime budget is also growing from year-to-year because of the increasing number of calls. The issue is currently remedied by having off-duty personnel called back on overtime.
The highest priority identified in the study is staffing and the recommendation is to go to referendum and ask the voters to consider staffing a third ambulance full-time, around the clock.
The department is also behind on some fire inspections because emergency calls take priority. The study recommends hiring a full-time fire inspector who would also be available during times of multiple calls.
Also recommended, a training chief to manage department training and begin the process of developing a stand-alone training division.
The study also recommends building a substation / training facility / resident intern program in the area of Ganske Road/ County Highway B, west of Highway 151, to help with response on the north side of the city. Consultant Dan Williams says the satellite facility does not need to be as big as the main station.
Williams says the department should also consider collaborating with neighboring volunteer EMS agencies, to establish service agreements, identify personnel needs and consider regionalizing some efforts while looking at county needs. The study also recommends reviewing the contracts in place with neighboring townships and making modifications to allow for the most efficient responses.
A new engine is also recommended, one that could be used with hydrants in the city and in the township where the drafting of water is needed.
The study will next be reviewed by the city’s Police and Fire Commission.
Read the report here: