Urbana Fire has over 2,800 runs in 2019

The Urbana Fire Division has had over 2,800 runs in 2019 - similar to the total runs in 2018.

According to Urbana Fire Chief Dean Ortlieb, the total runs have increased over the last 25 years, while the staffing has stayed the same.

“In 1992, the last time we had a manpower increase - where we added to the shift, we were at a total of 1,827 runs,” Ortlieb said.

The Urbana firefighters are able to handle the increase in runs because they are professionals in their field, Ortlieb said.

There is a total of 22 people employed at the fire division.

Of the 2,863 runs reported in 2019, there were two runs in progress at the same time 505 times and there were three runs in progress at the same time 88 times, according to division data.

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“Those collectively mean that almost twice a day if we are at minimum, we can quickly become overwhelmed with the vehicles and manpower that we have,” Ortlieb said. “It’s not necessarily the personnel - it’s just having the ability to take the runs.”

The runs were divided into 2,349 calls for EMS service, 373 calls for fire service, and 141 calls for motor vehicle accidents.

There was an average of eight runs per day with a minimum staffing of five people and the maximum staffing of seven people.

“We are always concerned about two things - we want to have the ability to scale up and then we also want to make sure that we have the capacity to respond if needed,” Ortlieb said.

READ: Springfield fire runs top 18,000 in 2019

The fire division partnered with Mercy Health and submitted a grant in December to develop a community paramedic program to ensure the division’s availability to respond to calls.

Ortlieb said he is hoping the division can look at the reoccurring runs and help the people that may not need EMS every time.

The goal of the grant is to give those people a better quality of life, Ortlieb explained.

The fire division is still awaiting approval of the grant and expect to learn the status by February.

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