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Portage Fire Chief Addresses the Portage Exchange Club

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on November 28, 2012 with No Comments

Portage Fire Chief Tom Fieffer recently addressed the Portage Exchange Club.

“Our main job is not putting out fires – it’s fire prevention.  That’s what we’re all about.  If we could go a whole year without a fire, I’d do a backflip.”

The department has seen some changes this year.  The new fire boat that went into service last May has been used to its fullest.  Out of the 12 weeks it was in service, it made 10 calls.

“We’re glad to have it.  It’s a great tool,” Fieffer said.

Of the 61 members of the department, all have been trained in operation of the boat.  Twelve are trained divers.

Another important lifesaving change has been the addition of refrigeration units to the city’s three ambulances.  NMLK donated the units, each of which cost $900.

“We are the first in the area to have this,” Fieffer said.  “We are on the cutting edge.”

The biggest change involves reassignment of personnel.

“We used to have five chiefs, now we have three division chiefs doing training on the shift, plus take care of administrative tasks on a fire.  The chief no longer has his shift on an engine.  Starting in January, we put the chiefs on shift in other vehicles.  This increases staffing on a fire, and keeps fire protection at the fire ground.  Lack of continuity on crews is the main cause of firefighters’ deaths.  This addresses that problem.

“We’ve provided more safety to our staff and to our community for the small increase of $9200 to the taxpayers,” he said.

At the end of the chief’s presentation, Exchange Club President Peggy Berbesque presented Fieffer with a check for $250 to be used by the department.

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