Medical calls rise for many Iowa fire departments


April 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say medical calls to fire departments are rising for many Iowa departments, in part because more and more aging baby boomers are requiring emergency aid.  In Iowa City, for example, the Fire Department, there were nearly 2,800 calls for emergency medical services last year, compared with more than 2,200 EMS calls in 2007.    The Cedar Rapids Fire Department says it handled more than 5,400 EMS calls in 2011, compared with just over 5,000 calls in 2007.  The National Fire Protection Association says the number of EMS calls to fire departments nationally has increased nearly 300 percent since 1980.  Cedar Rapids Fire Department spokesman Greg Buelow says the increasing demand for EMS services has forced the department to seek firefighters who already have paramedic certification.

During the March 7th City Council meeting in Atlantic, Fire Chief Mark McNees said the total number of calls in 2011 for the department was 183. That was down from an average of 225. McNees said also, the Atlantic Fire Department reached its highest level of strength for quite some time, with 37 members in 2011.