GLEN CARBON - Jason Whitaker, chief of the Glen Carbon Fire Protection District, gave a “Year In Review” presentation to update village trustees and the public on the progress they’ve made, statistics from the past year, and plans for the future. Whitaker emphasized the effectiveness of Glen Carbon firefighters in responding to calls, providing CPR, and much more.
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He gave the presentation at the most recent Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, June 13. He started with a “call breakdown,” which showed the number and types of calls the Fire Protection District received in the last year - a total of 1,977.
Among those calls were 1,417 Medical Assist calls, 152 Fire Alarm calls, 40 Motor Vehicle Accident calls, and several more.
“When I started here in Glen Carbon in 2007, we were getting 680 calls - so in just 15 short years, we’ve more than doubled our call volume,” Whitaker said.
He also noted that the district’s average number of calls per day has nearly tripled from when he started, from about 2 per day to 5.43 per day.
The Glen Carbon Fire Protection District consists of six full-time employees and 36 volunteer, or “paid on call” firefighters. The total number of volunteer responses last year totaled 5,297 for an average of 156 calls per person.
Whitaker said the district also “helped our neighbors” by providing more mutual aid to surrounding communities than it received from them.
“Our Mutual Aid response is something we pride ourselves on in Glen Carbon. We feel like we’re a well-staffed resource in the center of everything,” he said. “Last year, we provided Mutual Aid 46 times for fire, and received it 39 times. The staggering number is we’ve provided Mutual Aid EMS 281 times while only receiving it 14 times.”
All Glen Carbon firefighters, whether full-time salaried staff members or those paid on call, complete the same training, Whitaker said. In total, the Fire Protection District logged 6,109.5 training hours last year for an average of 145.5 hours of training per person - about triple the average for volunteer departments, which he said is usually 25-50 hours per person each year.
Looking ahead to the district’s future, Whitaker said they’re currently designing a new fire truck to replace Engine 1911, and that Station #1 is getting a full interior remodel. A new state-of-the-art training facility for area firefighters is being designed and will be built next door to the current station.
He also praised Glen Carbon firefighters for their effectiveness in administering CPR, particularly chest compressions. The rate at which Glen Carbon firefighters were able to restore a pulse to someone under cardiac arrest was 87.5% - far exceeding the national average of 30.2%.
With the goal of training 1,000 people to be CPR certified (and steadily reaching that goal at over 600 so far), the Fire Protection District is offering free CPR classes on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at Glen Carbon Fire Station #1. Those interested can call (618) 288-1220 to register for a class or visit the district’s Facebook page for more info.
The district has also expanded its community outreach efforts, hosting “Neighborhood Meet & Greet” events each month that have proven so popular, Whitaker said they’re booked into 2024. Their Community Toy Drive event last year brought in over 2,000 toys for local children, and Whitaker said they plan for it to be even bigger this year. He added the same will be true for this year’s Lighted Christmas Parade.
The full presentation and meeting recording can be watched at the top of this story or on the Village of Glen Carbon Facebook page.
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