Fire Department calls for service rose six percent in Bloomington last year. Fire Chief Mike Kimmerling says calls for medical service accounted for about 80% of the total 10,310 calls. Kimmerling says Ambulance crews also transported more people to the hospital in 2012. Analysis by the Stevenson Center at ISU shows that in many instances fire engines and ambulances both respond to emergency service calls. The Stevenson Center is working with the Fire Department to define issues raised by the numbers. Chief Kimmerling says much of the increase in EMS calls stemmed from people with mental health issues. Kimmerling says if call volume continues to increase it will affect response times. Average EMS response time was just under six minutes, slightly under the national standard. Fire call response time was less than five and a half minutes. He says if such increases continue, the Fire Department will need to add staff. Kimmerling is also noting many fire stations are aging. He says some are 30 to 40 years old and present maintenance challenges.
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