SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Fire Department reported Monday to the Sycamore City Council that it saw another year of increased emergency service requests.
It’s the third year in a row where requests for emergency service increased. There was a 2.4 percent increase from the previous year, according to the fire department’s annual report. The report was for fiscal 2013, which began May 1, 2012, and ended April 30. According to the report for fiscal 2012, requests for emergency service increased 3 percent from the year before.
Sycamore Fire Chief Pete Polarek said he wasn’t sure why there were increases in requests for emergency services last year.
“You can’t put your finger on it,” he said. “It could be people without health insurance, it could be people more reliant on city services.”
Polarek predicts an aging population will continue the increased demand for emergency services. The baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – make up about 29 percent of the population, he said. By 2030, almost one in five Americans will be older than 65, he said.
“We anticipate as this group ages, they’re going to require some varied and essential services,” he said.
Those services would include the fire department’s own emergency medical services.
The department saw a 2.7 percent increase in emergency medical service requests, with a slight increase in fire and slight decrease in non-fire incidents, according to the report.
Polarek said he also sees a lot of people without health care relying on government services for support they can’t get anywhere else.
“We see a lot more people rely on government services,” he said, “not just emergency medical services but services in general.”
Sycamore Mayor Ken Mundy praised the report for keeping track of current and future trends with department services.
“It recognizes where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re headed,” Mundy said.
The department’s budget for fiscal 2013 was about $2.6 million, the same as the budget reported for fiscal year 2012. Personnel still accounted for 91 percent of the budget while commodities, contractual services, other services and equipment accounted for 9 percent of the budget, according to the report.