Ambulance Service Struggling For Personnel
The Prophetstown Fire Protection District Ambulance Service has been struggling to fill shifts due to vacations and lack of personnel, especially paramedics. Current EMTs Tarah Pyse and Jennifer Etheridge will begin taking paramedic classes in October, but the program takes approximately 15 months to complete. Marcie Romero has completed her classes and preparing to take the state boards to become a paramedic. The service will also be adding a new paramedic in September as well as an EMT.
Over the past few months discussion in the department have revolved around increasing pay, especially for paramedics in hopes of attracting more out of district help. District treasurer Karen Stewart presented a plan worked out with ambulance administrator Julie Pope to increase hourly rates for paramedics. The plan called for ambulance drivers to be put on salary and paramedics from outside the district to be given a two dollar an hour raise to $14 per hour. Basic EMTs would receive a raise in 2021.
Pope was unable to attend the meeting and after a lengthy discussion a motion was made by trustee Keith Crady to grant the two dollar raise for paramedics but the motion died due to a lack of a second. Trustee president Bill Jacobs said the issue would be revisited when Pope was available.
Crady proposed an increase in the mileage rate charged by the ambulance service. The vast majority of calls run by the service are for Medicaid patients which pays only a small percentage of the billed costs. The service currently charges $18 per mile. A motion was made and passed to increase the rate to $35 per mile.
It was reported that a few projects including installation of a base radio and tower need to be completed at the ESDA building which is currently housing the ambulance service.
The service responded to 38 calls in the month of July.
Bigger Truck For Lyndon
The Prophetstown Fire Protection District Board of Trustees gave their approval for the purchase of a used rescue/pumper truck for the Lyndon Department in the amount of $169,000 during their August meeting. Fire Chief Gerald Armstrong told the board after a lengthy search a truck was found that was with in the amount allotted by the district and met the needs of the department. The truck is currently in service in Rochester, New York and will become available in September. Several members of the district will travel to view the truck before the purchase agreement is made. Assistant Chief Arian Landheer said, “it checks all the boxes as far as what we were looking for and it is the first truck we found in over a year that meets our needs.” The purchase will allow the department to sell one engine and possibly the rescue squad. The truck is a 2004 model and it is hoped department will be able to use it for another 15 years. The department had been waiting for the completion of the station expansion to be able to purchase a larger truck.
Fire Chief- Gerald Armstrong
The district responded to 14 calls in the month of July.
A deck gun was purchased and installed on Hooppole engine # 11.
Pump tests will be held on August 30
Fire drills will be held in the Prophetstown Schools the next few weeks.
An active shooter drill will be held in the schools at the end of August.
Equipment has been rearranged and there will no longer be a need for a storage unit which had been provided by Keith Crady.
Assistant Fire Chief- Arian Landheer
July training included a walk-through the new addition of the Farmers National Bank.
August training will consist of driver training.
The district along with the Erie and Tampico Departments will host a kids’ water fight at the Whiteside County Fair on Saturday with registration beginning at noon.
Hooppole- Capt. Sheldon Miller
The department will be hosting the Blackhawk firefighters Association water fights on Sunday, September 8 registration starting at 10:30 AM.
Lyndon- Capt. Thad Bram
A few small items are needed to complete the expansion project.
Prophetstown- Capt. Trever Richmond
Preparations continue for the Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, September 1.
Thank you to the Fisk family for the donation to the department.
The department is still awaiting word on a grant from FEMA. They are also looking into apply for a grant from Compeer Financial.
The next building committee meeting to discuss the expansion of Prophetstown department will take place on August 19 at 7 PM. Work will begin on a loan application with USDA.
The District accepted the resignation of firefighter Muck Meier. In a letter he said he had enjoyed being a member of the department and expressed thanks for allowing him to serve the community.
Approved the purchase of a keyless entry door lock for the Lyndon Department.
Approved the purchase of two retractable extension cords to be mounted to the ceiling of the new Lyndon expansion.
Approved the purchase of new outdoor lights for the Prophetstown Department to not exceed $300.
Approved alcohol to be present at the Hooppole department during the upcoming water fights.
The Board of Trustees went into executive session to discuss personnel, but no action was taken.
District treasurer Karen Stewart expressed her thanks for the many condolences received from district members for the recent passing of her son.
Trustee Mike Fisk presented a memorial donation in the amount of $3,052 to the Prophetstown Fire Department on behalf of his father Dave Fisk who was Fire Chief for many years.
The next monthly board meeting is set for Monday, September 9th at 7:00 PM.