With a total of 1,193 incidents during 2022, the call volume for the Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District was down slightly from the 2021 level. That year, there were a total of 1,204 incidents recorded.
But, said longtime Fire Chief Rick Mello, it was “pretty much a typical year” for the department.
“There were a couple of months that were unusually slow, April was slow,” Mello said, noting that if they had had a normal April, they probably would have reached that 1,200 call mark for the year.
By month, January saw 104 total calls, followed by 76 in February; 85 in March; 71 in April; 94 in May; 110 in June. The second half of the year saw 116 incidents in July; 102 in August; 99 in September; 116 in October; 109 in November; and 111 in December.
“It was unusual that February was not our slowest month,” added Mello, with that shortest month of the year having five more calls than April in 2022.
The department responded to a total of 738 medical calls during the year; 217 miscellaneous calls; 137 motor vehicle accidents and 101 fires.
Tying for the busiest months were July and October with 116 calls; the busiest month for fires was June, with 17 reported and busiest month for motor vehicle accidents was October, with 18. January saw the most medial aid calls, 78, and April was the slowest overall month with 71 calls. The medical aid calls made up just under 62 percent of total calls for service.
“We had a few structure fires here and there, a commercial fire on McHenry,” Mello said. “We had a big vegetation fire on Santa Fe but aside from that, nothing that really stood out, which is good.”
In terms of staffing, there have been no changes on any of the shifts during the year.
A Shift has Battalion Chief Dan Morriss and Firefighter/Engineer Dave Velasco; B Shift is Battalion Chief Moe Silva and Firefighter/Engineer Cassidy Bohannon; C Shift is Battalion Chief Joe Pelot and Firefighter/Engineer Ryan Burr.
“We extended our fire season staffing, we started that in April and ran it through January,” Mello explained. “We were able to do that utilizing some of the COVID funding we received.”
The department is also in a trial run for the department’s reserves, trying out a new payment system.
“That may enhance our 24-hour coverage system and allow us to have three personnel on each shift,” Mello said. “Right now having that third person is hit and miss, sometimes we just have two (per shift) but having that third person, to us it makes a big difference.”
Currently, the department draws volunteers from within the city limits and reserves from outside the city; they are required to work 48 hours per month.
Mello said they are reviewing a plan that would do away with the volunteer program per se, and make everyone a reserve, whether they live in the city or not, but there has been no formal decision made yet regarding that option.