Chesterton Tribune



Ambulance transition smooth; new Burns Harbor officer named

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Of 710 total calls last year to the Burns Harbor Fire Department, 503 were related to emergency medical services.

Effective Feb. 1, Porter Regional Hospital took over first response in town for advanced-life-support ambulance calls. Burns Harbor fire chief Bill Arney said, “The ALS transition took place as smooth as possible. We still have ALS in town.”

Arney told the Town Council last week, “There’s still no contract. Right now we’re operating on a gentlemen’s agreement” with Porter Hospital’s EMS. A contract is being negotiated.

The Fire Department operated its own ALS ambulance from November, 2012 to Feb. 1 on a trial basis, but the service proved to be a financial drain on the town. Much of the ALS cost was due to the required 24/7 paramedic staffing.

The Fire Department kept its ALS ambulance, which firefighters now will use to provide basic medical care; Arney said the surplus ALS equipment will be sold, preferably to non-profit services.

The Porter Hospital rig is operating out of the Burns Harbor fire station, so the department’s spare 1996 ambulance has been moved out and is for sale.

Fire stats reported

In January, Arney said the Fire Department had 36 calls spending 27 hours 36 minutes at emergency scenes.

Regarding 2013’s total calls, firefighters spent 431 hours 17 minutes at emergency scenes. In addition to the EMS calls, firefighters responded to 73 motor vehicle accidents and 72 times provided mutual aid to other jurisdictions, most of them to Portage. There were 21 water rescues, eight vehicle fires, seven structure fires and five wildland fires.

Statistics showed that in 2013 Monday was the busiest call-out day at 20 percent of the year’s total calls followed by Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Tuesday.

Individual firefighters trained a total 333 times for a combined 1,053 man hours spent on instruction and on-duty station hours.

Police hire named

Town marshal Mike Heckman introduced Tim Lucas, 34, who the council voted unanimously to hire as a patrolman. Lucas currently serves as the police chief of New Chicago. “Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Town of Burns Harbor,” he told the council.

Lucas was welcomed to the department, and it was noted he was one of the fastest applicants in the physical agility portion of the testing.

Heckman reported that in January town police handled 220 incidents, 14 vehicle crashes, made two misdemeanor arrests and handed out 14 verbal/written warnings.

Councilmen Gene Weibl and Jeff Freeze said bids still are being sought for a back-up generator for the general maintenance/sanitary department building. The Sanitary Board will cover a percentage of the cost.

Councilman Greg Miller said specifications to upgrade the town website are being finalized and it’s hoped they will go out for bid this month.



Posted 2/10/2014