Volunteer agency answered 1,127 calls in the past year
By Ed Nadolski
Editor in Chief
While the future of the Burlington Area Rescue Squad is in a period of study and transition, there is no mistaking the fact the service answered the bell in record fashion in 2012.
The squad – which currently has 20 volunteer members, but typically just five or six available during weekdays – responded to a record 1,127 calls in 2012.
That information was included in a report presented by Chief Brian Zwiebel during the squad’s annual meeting at Veterans Terrace Jan. 21.
The number of calls answered in the past year exceed the 2011 record of 1,079. That compares with 961 calls in 2010 and 908 in 2009.
The squad also established the highest monthly total for calls – with 118 in May – and set another record with a total of four months that exceeded 100 calls (May; June, 107; September, 111; December, 112).
According to the squad’s annual report, the top reason for dispatch was a category labeled falls, fractures and dislocations at 191. Rounding out the top five are fires, 140; generalized weakness, 135; breathing difficulty, 100; and vehicular crashes, 86.
The squad had total operating expenses of $236,033 with more than $108,000 of that attributed to depreciation of equipment. The greatest expenses were administrative and accounting ($25,463), insurance ($17,355) and uniforms ($14,327).
The squad’s income included $196,103 in insurance and Medicare payments and an additional $50,192 in interest income, donations and grants, which left a balance of $10,262 for the year.
The one expense the squad didn’t have in 2012 or any prior year was personnel. However, the future of the all-volunteer squad could change as the city and town of Burlington explore ways to best deliver fire and rescue services in the future.
The two municipalities and the squad recently agreed to share expenses of an in-depth study that will look at, among other things: sustainability of volunteer personnel; equipment; facilities; and economies of greater cooperation among all three entities.
How the study might change operations of the squad that has been in service since 1946 remains to be seen.
The annual meeting, however, was an event to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year.
Along those lines, Zwiebel recognized two members for their contributions in the past year. The squad’s newest member, Mary Anna Stose, was presented a plaque signifying her full-fledged status.
The squad also presented an award to longtime member Troy Everson, who is the driving force behind the squad’s emergency medical technician training program at Burlington High School and Gateway Technical College.
Only the second of its kind in the country, the program enables Burlington High School seniors to obtain their EMT certification and become active members of the Rescue Squad. The program is now in its third year.
While many of the students continue their studies at colleges and universities in other cities, Everson said many continue to serve with the squad during the summer and extended school breaks. Others, he said, have taken positions with rescue operations while at school.
“It’s a wonderful system and a huge benefit to our community,” Everson said in thanking the school district and Rescue Squad members who have supported the program.
In addition to Zwiebel, Everson and Stose, current members of the Rescue Squad are: Carissa Aschauer, Marcus Brandes, Jessica Gardner, Jeffrey Koenen, Timothy McCourt, Simon Miller, Jennifer Ohlrich, Bruce Oldenburg, Joseph Patla, Hayley Schneider, Justin Skrzynecki, Jackie Solofra, Jeffrey Solofra, Bryan Stoppenbach, Christine Umnus, Alan VanDuesseldorp and Beth Vrchota.