RIDGEFIELD, Conn. – More than 65 percent of the calls received by the Ridgefield Fire Department in 2012 were for the ambulance, records show.
That is not unusual, Fire Chief Heather Burford said. Of the 3,349 calls received in 2012, 2,190 were for just EMS, and she said that number tends to increase each year. In 2011, the department received 2,172 calls.
“It’s a combination of the population aging, and people are very familiar with our services now. And so there isn’t hesitation to call us," Burford said. "And then some of it just has to do with if you’ve had bad weather, if you’ve had snow, if you’ve had issues, you’ll get more motor vehicle accidents." In 2012, accidents accounted for 181 of the EMS calls.
“It’s been, what I consider, sort of an average year,” she said. The department has nine categories of calls: fire, explosion/overheat, rescue/EMS, hazardous conditions, service calls, good intent calls, false alarms and false calls, severe weather/natural disaster and special incidents.
When compared with 2011, the overall call volume decreased by about 380 calls. Burford attributed the increase in 2011 to nearly 500 calls during Hurricane Irene and the Halloween snowstorm.
In 2012, 66 calls were regarding fires, down from 81 calls in 2011. Most of these calls came during winter, due mainly to chimney fires, furnace fires or problems associated with heating, Burford said.
One house fire was reported on Prospect Street in November, which Burford called an excellent example of how well the department responded and got the blaze under control. Another call came in August, when the concession stand at the skate park burned down overnight.
The 338 service calls in 2012 included assistance in finding a dog and getting into or out of homes. “It’s sort of the whole idea of ‘rescue’, whether you’re rescuing somebody from a motor vehicle or stuck in their home or out of their home,” Burford said. In 2011, 422 service calls were made.