MADISON, WI (Wisconsin Radio Network) – At the Capitol, legislation would provide tax credits for volunteer firefighters and EMTs.
The majority of the state’s hundreds of fire departments rely on volunteers, but state Senator Pat Testion of Stevens Point notes it’s getting tougher to attract and retain them — with notable consequences: “In 2006 the average age of a volunteer firefighter was 50 years old. It is now approaching 60. In that same time frame, call times have tripled.”
Overnight, Menomonee Falls crews responded, with automatic aid from a Germantown engine and Butler truck, to a residence on Sylvan Lane for a report of a structure fire. Upon arrival, fire was found on the backside (Charlie) of the garage structure, extending into the attic space. The fire was quickly knocked down, and extension into the attic space was found to be minimal.
Despite the minimal damage that occurred, it is important to highlight that Menomonee Falls was only able to respond with two engines, the only two engines currently in the Village. A third engine is down for maintenance, and the only truck is still out of service from a fire earlier in January, during which intense cold and freezing caused issues and damage to the apparatus. (A vehicle accident totaled a fourth engine last year, which is expected to be replaced with a new engine in 2020.) To assist with manpower, two of the three Menomonee Falls Paramedic ambulances responded to the scene as well.
Thankfully, Butler and Germantown were available to respond, despite a persistent pattern of Menomonee Falls passing on Mutual Aid requests due to insufficient staffing. Just hours earlier, Menomonee Falls had again passed on a Mutual Aid request to Germantown. Hopefully, one day Menomonee Falls will again be able to be a good neighbor to its neighboring fire departments and provide assistance to them when requested.