TWINSBURG, Ohio — With a month left to go in 2021, some area fire departments are already reporting a record number of calls for service for the year.
Twinsburg Fire Assistant Chief Steve Bosso told News 5 that for the first time, the fire department responded to three thousand calls so far in 2021. A record increase of 14% with a month left to go.
“Our population is right around 18,000 and it hasn’t moved that much in the last five years, but the age of those residents have kept increasing, and with the increase in age comes their medical ailments,” Bosso said.
That number exceeds statewide data, which illustrates a 2.6% increase in 2019 compared to 2018, and a 0.4% increase in total calls for 2020 compared to 2019, according to Anita Metheny, Assistant Chief for the Fire Prevention Bureau at the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal.
On average, Bosso said 80-85% of the calls in Twinsburg are EMS-related.
November run numbers. We are already 59 calls over the total for all of 2020 and have surpassed 3,000 calls for the first time in our department's history. pic.twitter.com/12dfaQsri3— TwinsburgFire (@TwinsburgFire) December 6, 2021
And with the coronavirus still seeping into our daily lives, Bosso said their trips to the hospital add up not just in volume, but in time it takes them as well.
“It used to be an advantage to come to hospital by rescue squad or ambulance because you would get in,” he said. “Those days are over. Our crews are waiting as long as an hour here in Twinsburg locally.”
News 5 reached out to several area fire departments, who all reported an increase in calls for 2021. In Richmond Heights, the chief said they’re looking at an 8% increase in calls when they normally only see an increase of a percent or two each year.
Nationwide, data from the National Fire Protection Association shows calls in 2020 were actually down slightly, 23.8 million compared to 24.4 million in 2019.
Those were the two years with the highest number of calls going all the way back to 1980, and the 2021 numbers have not been released yet.
As far as what can be done to combat this increase, Bosso points to instances where callers may be better served with a telehealth visit with a doctor or a trip to urgent care. Regardless, he said crews will always come when called, no matter what.
“The public can help us out by consulting with a doctor and evaluating whether it's a true emergency or not,” he said.
On top of a rise in EMS calls, Metheny told News 5 that statewide, they’re seeing an increase of around 18-20% in fatalities from fires caused by smoking.
“Just try to be safety conscious,” Metheny said. “We want people to be aware: don’t overload your outlets and your circuits, if you are a smoker, please don’t smoke on oxygen. Do not fall asleep with cigarettes lit.”
To learn more about fire safety prevention measures, click here.