Fire departments struggling with increasing demand, need for more resources
Bargersville FD had 20 percent more calls in 2012
Last Updated: 161 days ago
BARGERSVILLE, Ind. - Fire departments in Johnson County are struggling to keep up with a growing population, and that could have an impact on their response to calls for help.
At the Bargersville Fire Department, they had a 20 percent increase in calls for help last year. The department has 23 full-time firefighters covering 62 square miles and a population of more than 20,000 people.
Firefighters say residents could wait longer for help if something doesn't change.
"Some of these larger incidents, we're a one-hit show," said Chief Jason Ramey. "It takes all of our resources to handle that, and then anybody else is going to have to wait if possible. Or, we're going to have to send whatever we can to try and mitigate their problem while we're dealing with the original calls."
Ramey says his department is doing more now than ever. In addition to fighting fires, they train for ice rescue and have a growing number of emergency medical runs.
With the increase in calls and addition of duties, Ramey says they need more firefighters, and the economy has hampered their efforts.
"Sixty-two square miles… We're doing that with two stations and 13 people a day," Ramey said. "And, that's hard to do. There's some runs no matter what we do, it's a five- to eight-minute drive to the scene just because it's that big of an area."
Ramey said his department has just received a grant to fund three firefighters for two years, but more needs to be done.
Ramey told RTV6 his station is not the only one trying to keep up with population growth. He said there are other departments in Johnson County facing the same problem.
"Right now our ladder crew and our rescue people are the same people. So, it's an absolute reality that when the tones go out, you get one or the other from us," Ramey said. "You know, the rescue truck goes on a car wreck. If that happens and now there's an apartment fire following that, that ladder truck is here unstaffed."
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