BELLEVUE, Wis. (WFRV) The Village of Bellevue is making a change to the way it handles emergency response. Come the first of the year Bellevue Fire and Rescue will be staffed 24 hours a day.
In the Village of Bellevue this fire station isn’t staffed around the clock. But come January 1, Chief Jack Mlnarik says that’s going to change.
“We’ve identified a need to move toward a 24/7 365 model,” said Mlnarik.
Right now the station is staffed 66 hours a week, Monday through Sunday. When staff is on the clock response times are good. But when it’s after hours things drop off quickly.
“We’re between five and six minutes when we’re staffed here at the station. But when we’re not it can be upwards of 14-15 minutes, which is a substantial difference,” said the chief.
The department has 10 full-time firefighters and 33 part-time employees. And when crews are called in it takes extra time.
“By the time you wake up, shake the cobwebs loose, hop in the car, you’re already three to four minutes into something. When your response times are that much of a difference something needs to be looked at,” Mlnarik said.
With half of calls coming after hours Mlnarik proposed a plan, recently approved by the village board, to shift existing staffing to a 24/7 model to speed response around the clock.
“We’ll have three people at the station 24/7. They’ll be a captain and two firefighters. Now we’ll send out a fire engine immediately,” Mlnarik said.
“Any time you can get people to an emergency scene 10 minutes quicker it’s going to be a drastic change and a good outcome in the end,” said Captain Andy Aschenbrenner.
It’s a safer way of serving the public in this village that continues to grow,
The chief says the change doesn’t increase the village’s budget due to attrition of some department positions.