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Consolidating fire department calls, changes to dispatch to be main focus of special Peoria council meeting

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Tuesday night Missouri based consulting firm Fitch & Associates is presenting their findings from a five year survey. 

Chief Tony Adris said around 82% of calls his department responds to are EMS. 

Part of the Fitch study is looking at the overlap between the Fire Department and AMT in regards to those EMS calls.

Chief Tony Ardis said actual fires make up around 6% of their departments calls. 

"That firefighter that you see coming out of a burning house, the next call he may be getting into his dive suit and going in the river, the next call he my be dangling from the highest building because he's part of the special rescue team. They don't realize that 99 percent of the time when that ambulance is going code red to the hospital with a critical patient it is our personnel in the back assisting AMT because we're a team." said Chief Ardis

The study makes a point to say that only the most severe cases need both agencies. But Peoria City Councilman Chuck Grayeb said this study has been inconsistent from the start. 

"The Fitch study initially says we can close six out of 12 of our fire houses and only raise response time by 1 minute. Where I come from as a representative of the people that's Charlatanism." said Grayeb

Both Chief Ardis and Grayeb said the fire department keeps track of their calls and meets to discuss them on a regular basis.

"Well, I'm not convinced that we are going to learn anything other than the fact that we wasted $75,000 on a study done by a bunch of quacks." said Grayeb

In terms of dispatch, Fitch is recommending they upgrade from a “paper card system” to electronic software that could cost almost $ 400,000.

"Making sure that the Emergency Communications Center is properly staffed. They do an incredible job and they are first responders that's a fact so they need to be staffed properly so that everything is handled well." said Chief Ardis

“We have to be very careful dismantling a system that has serviced our citizens very well. Quite often these calls are muddled we’re not sure and I don’t want murkiness to have us not responding quickly. Having redundancy may ultimately be a good thing.”  said Grayeb

Kaitlin Pearson

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