The busiest year on record for the Escalon Fire Department has just concluded – with 2017 coming in with the highest number of calls ever, said Fire Chief Rick Mello.
“We had 1,124 calls and that is our most on record since we started keeping track,” Mello explained.
That figure compares to the 1,002 the department responded to in 2016 and the most calls handled in a previous year topped out at 1,038 in 2008.
“We are typically busy in fire season, June, July, August and September but we just had an unusually busy December,” the chief noted.
December was the busiest month for medical aid calls, with 77, which the chief said may have been somewhat attributed to the flu and the winter season, with more people calling for assistance when exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
In terms of total responses, September was the highest with 111 calls, including 67 medical aid calls, 12 motor vehicle accidents, nine fires and 23 miscellaneous calls.
The breakdown by month for the year includes: January, 87 total calls; February 101, March 77, April 87, May 78, June 94, July 110, August 109, September 111, October 79, November 82 and December 109.
The slowest overall month was March, while September saw the highest number of motor vehicle accident responses with 12 and July and August tied for response to fire calls, 15 each month during the height of the summer fire season.
Mello also pointed to a busy February, as the shortest month of the year was the fourth highest in call volume. Every month had calls in every category, though response to just one motor vehicle accident was reported during all of January, 2017.
The department’s response to medical aid calls accounted for 63.5 percent of the total calls, said Mello.
Meanwhile, officers were recently installed for the Escalon Fire Board for 2018 and include Board President Andy Dugo, Vice President Steve Reichmuth, Secretary Mickey Schilber and board members Joe Camara and Josh Cummings.
Mello said staffing at the department currently includes a Battalion Chief and a firefighter on each shift, most also featuring a third staffer, either a volunteer or reserve firefighter.
The A shift is Battalion Chief Chris Johnson with firefighter Moe Silva; B Shift is Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro and firefighter Cassidy Bohannon; C Shift is Battalion Chief Joe Pelot and firefighter Ryan Burr.
“In May we start our seasonal firefighters,” Mello said, bringing the extra staff on board for the busy summer months.