Alders approve fire department items at special council meeting | New


A special Oct. 26 meeting of Sun Prairie city council resulted in the approval of two elements of the Sun Prairie Fire & Rescue Company, saving at least $ 150,000, according to the Sun Fire Chief Prairie, Chris Garrison.

Alders has authorized Garrison to retain surplus funds from Budget 2020 for fire initiatives and to authorize the purchase of a new replacement ladder truck which, if ordered now, will save $ 150,000.

In a note to Alders, Garrison requested permission to use the $ 57,328.28 in funds for these items:

An all-terrain utility vehicle (UTV) from the fire department $ 30,000 – “A UTV allows our crews to quickly access off-road and remote terrain and can be used in a wide variety of situations including brush / wildland firefighting, search and rescue, transportation. of patients from cycle and running tracks, and other types of intervention in difficult conditions. ground. Right now we have to ask for vehicles like these as aid to more rural departments, resulting in extended response times, ”Garrison wrote in a note to Alders.

Lexipol programming and training $ 13,800 – Garrison said it is an online learning management system that will allow firefighters to train anywhere and help them stay up to date with a modern, multiplatform learning system.

Technical rescue equipment $ 13,328 – “As part of our evolution towards an all-risk response organization, we are working to create our technical rescue response capacities (collapse, high angle, confined space, etc.) in cooperation with other departments of the Dane County to ease the burden on the city. of Madison and have better response capabilities locally to shorten response times for these difficult, often immediately fatal incidents, ”Garrison wrote.

The alders approved the requests without discussion.

As part of a separate memo to council, Garrison reminded Alders that in fiscal 2023, the City of Sun Prairie had the Scale 2 truck on the fleet replacement schedule.

“This vehicle is currently on the five-year replacement plan. We do not have the current financial figures on the replacement purchase price on hand. With the expected increase in parts for this device, the industry expects an increase of at least 9% in parts and materials in 2022. This number could represent an increase of up to $ 150,000, ”a Garrison wrote in the memo.

Garrison recommended that the City of Sun Prairie enter into an agreement with Fire Service Inc. which is listed as a sole source in a government purchase (Sourcewell) during the current fiscal year and avoid the expected price increase. in 2023.

“It won’t cost the city anything and the vehicle would remain on the 2023 replacement schedule,” Garrison wrote in the note.

Alders briefly discussed the pumper scheduled for replacement. Garrison explained that it’s not the number of miles driven by the engine – it’s the amount the engine is used during fire calls. For example, when SPFR responded to the Stonewood Crossing fire, the engine was used to pump water for three hours. While wear isn’t measured in miles, it is important to engine life, Garrison said.

Former Sun Prairie EMS Director and current District 4 Alder Mary Polenske said she believes it is important that the fire and EMS departments receive new equipment when needed to providing services to the communities they serve, including Sun Prairie.

Garrison explained that the new pumper will be a single-axle vehicle capable of handling responses on narrow streets. District 1 alder Steve Stocker asked if the new vehicle would be able to handle a response on Gerald Avenue, and Garrison said yes, but added that it would also be good for any fire calls in west street.

Wisconsin Policy Forum: EMS and Fire Reforms Needed

The council’s approval came just a day before the Wisconsin Policy Forum released a report indicating that a growing number of fire and emergency medical services (EMS) agencies in Wisconsin are struggling to maintain appropriate service levels in the face of many challenges, including increasing service calls from an aging population and difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff (read the PDF version of the report along with the online version of this article on

The report suggests greater consideration of local branch consolidation may be needed to improve service levels while limiting additional costs.

A response from state policymakers may also be warranted, according to the report.

The report brings together ideas and possible solutions drawn from the Policy Forum’s broad portfolio of fire and EMS research.

Over the past eight years, the forum has studied 30 fire and EMS vendors across Wisconsin in a dozen studies on sharing services.

The new report reveals that while volunteer-based staffing models have served many small communities well in the past, increasing EMS call volumes and staffing issues are pushing many to move towards a model that uses more full-time staff. This can often improve operational efficiency and reduce response times, but it also requires additional funding which may be difficult to obtain due to competing local priorities or state limits on local property taxes. {span class = “converted-space-Apple”} {/ span} {/ span}

{p class = “p1”} {span class = “s1”} “Perhaps our most important conclusion – and one that national and local policymakers cannot afford to ignore – is that, unless they not properly addressed, fires and the financial and personnel problems of EMS could soon have a real impact on public safety, ”the report concludes. {span class =” espace-converti-Apple “} {/ span} {/ span}

{p class = “p1”} {span class = “s1”} The report also noted that proportional fire and EMS spending by municipal governments is already trending down. The report highlights giving localities more flexibility in terms of restricting income and expenditure limits (other than referendums) when it comes to meeting documented fire and EMS service challenges. which must be resolved with greater financial resources. {span class = “converted-space-Apple”} {/ span} {/ span}

{p class = “p1”} {span class = “s1”} The Wisconsin Policy Forum report states that state law currently allows certain exemptions for common fire districts and common EMS districts or at the county level, but suggests establishing a formal role for counties or region entities in governance and standard setting for fire protection services and EMSs. The report also suggests providing more financial support from the state to ensure that standards can be properly monitored and met. {span class = “converted-space-Apple”} {/ span} {/ span}

{p class = “p1”} {span class = “s1”} “Ultimately, we hope that local and state officials will heed the overarching message of our recent reports: the ability of many communities to deliver at an appropriate level fire and emergency medical services are in danger, ”the report concludes,“ and may soon require emergency response from them. ”{span class =“ Apple-converted-space ”} {/ span} {/ span}

{p class = “p1”} {span class = “s1”}The Wisconsin Policy Forum, a non-profit source of non-partisan and independent research on national and local public policy, with member-supported research; visit to learn more.{span class = “converted-space-Apple”} {/ span}{/ span}

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