Burlington firefighters see record number of calls during recent shift

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 2, 2022 at 7:06 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Burlington firefighters experienced one of their busiest non-storm shifts in department history over the weekend.

In a 24-hour period from Sunday going into Monday, the department responded to 45 calls.

They say calls this year are on pace to far eclipse normal call levels. In a normal year, they see on average around 8,000 calls. They are already at about 5,500 this year and on pace for over 9,000.

The department can’t point to a single cause for the increase, but fire officials say people tend to call for EMTs and paramedics when they don’t know who else to call.

“When services aren’t available, lots of times the fire department is that call that’s made. We may not have all the answers but we are pretty resourceful and can get you to the next step. Sometimes we take people to the emergency room, sometimes we are connecting people to other services in the state or in the city,” Burlington Acting Fire Chief Derek Libby said.

Libby says he expects the police department’s new CSL and CSO programs to start bolstering the city’s emergency responses.

While many communities are struggling to staff volunteer fire departments, Libby says Burlington’s full-time department has been able to maintain minimum staffing for round-the-clock shifts.

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