Painesville Fire Department reviews 2022 operations and presents 2023 plans at City Council meeting

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The City of Painesville Fire Department spent time in 2022 organizing the ordering of a new fire truck, renovating the fire station, helping residents prepare for fires and tending to the mental health of responders, while continuing to manage emergency calls from residents.

These are some of the highlights of a presentation Chief Tom Hummel gave to City Council earlier this month, reviewing the department’s 2022 activity. He also considered the department’s plans for 2023, including potential purchases and grant opportunities.

Hummel noted that the department purchased a new Sutphen fire engine this year. The order was finalized in January and the engine itself should arrive at the end of September. He added that it will be 10 months for a process that usually takes 39 months. Because the department purchased an engine that was used for demonstrations, it was also purchased with a saving.

In the community, the department purchased and installed six residential KnoxBoxes, which were paid for with donations from businesses and individuals, in 2022. He explained that these boxes are used to help crews enter homes without causing cause. of damage, “for people with reduced mobility” or who can fall while going to the door in an emergency. The ministry collects a nominal fee of $20 each year from those who have the boxes. Currently, 27 are installed in the city, with five additional boxes currently available.

Hummel added that the department has also partnered with the Red Cross to install more smoke detectors free of charge for city residents this year. Since the start of this partnership, the department has installed 138 ten-year detectors.

Finally, he described the ways the department has invested in its first responders. He said the department encouraged leadership development and recently sent three officers for training in conjunction with the Painesville Police Department. He also made updates to the fire station’s kitchen and dining room.

Mental health has also been a concern, Hummel said, adding that fire departments and first responders have seen increased rates of PTSD and related illnesses. The county fire department worked with Crossroads Health in response.

Hummel noted in 2023 that the department plans to revive its oldest EMS team, as well as potentially purchasing new radios under a regional grant. The department also wants to redevelop and re-equip the fitness room, some equipment being nearly 20 years old.

The department also plans to apply for a state EMS grant next year “to purchase durable EMS equipment and active-shooting equipment.” He noted that the grant is usually close to $3,000. It was $638 in 2022 because it’s funded by seatbelt tickets in Ohio, and departments haven’t written those tickets as often due to the pandemic.

Finally, Hummel said the department will focus on increasing community interaction and visibility, including providing training and education opportunities to the public. The ministry also plans to return to schools to teach fire safety this year, which it was unable to do last year.

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Richard V. Johnson