By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The community’s growing reliance on the Medina Fire Department for ambulance services and regular levels of fire response has led to another record-breaking year for the department.
Medina’s team of 13 full-time fire/emergency personnel and dozens of volunteers responded to 2,520 calls in 2012, a 1.7 percent increase over the previous year and a 6.5 percent increase since 2010.
Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich said Wednesday that the need for ambulance service continues to grow. In recent years, more than 80 percent of the fire department’s calls for both non-fire emergencies.
”We anticipate the trend in ambulance calls increasing,” Zinkieivich said.
No such predictions can be made for fires. “In our business that can change yearly.”
Zinkievich said he is also anticipating increases in calls due to the potential curtailing of services at Brockport’s Lakeside Hospital.
Hospital officials have given conflicting reports on the future of their services in recent weeks. The latest plan has a majority of the Brockport facility’s in-patient beds closing, but keeps the site’s emergency department open.
Zinkievich sais Medina’s ambulance service would be stretched if plans to close Lakeside’s emergency department, which were announced two weeks ago, stay in place.
While only a small number of Medina’s ambulance transports are to Lakeside, the fire department would be called upon to provide support for an expected increase in traffic to Medina Memorial Hospital’s emergency department if Lakeside’s closes.
Zinkievich anticipates that Medina would provide more back-up calls in support of the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance if that unit’s personnel have to cover further distances to transport patients.
”We would see a fairly large increase in the number calls if Lakeside closes,” Zinkievich said.
• Department looks for next generation of leaders
The Medina Fire Department is looking within its ranks for the next generation of leaders. Zinkievich asked the village board Monday to call for the list of candidates for a vacant captain position, with the intention to promote one of his callmen.
”We need to train our younger guys to lead the department,” Zinkievich said. “They all work hard and desrved the chance to go through the ranks.”
Medina operates a two-platoon system, with six-man teams lead by a captain. Currently, Captain Mike Maak oversees the ambulance service, with Maak and Zinkievich sharing the training oversight duties of retired Captain R.J. Morgan.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.