Stock fire photo
File, Jonathan Miano | The Times

PORTAGE — You might think Portage Fire Chief Tom Fieffer's top accomplishment for 2016 would be the opening of the new fire station on Central Avenue.

While Fieffer and his department are excited about the opening of the newest station, he's more proud that the department and its affiliated instructors were able to teach nearly 1,800 people CPR.

CPR, said Fieffer, is the one thing anyone can do, with training, that doesn't require any specialized equipment but can save someone's life.

The fire department is an American Heart Association community training center and has affiliated instructors throughout the Region. 

Fieffer recently presented the department's annual report.

In 2016, the department responded to 4,231 calls, including 106 fires; eight explosions; 3,147 emergency medical calls; 105 hazardous conditions including electrical issues, carbon monoxide and fuel spills; 381 calls of service for smoke or odor removal, water leaks, lock-outs and lift assists; 267 good intent calls where the call was unfounded or canceled before arrival; 209 false alarm or false calls; five severe weather and natural disaster and three special calls.

The busiest station was Station 1 on Swanson Road, which responded to 1,737 of the total calls.

Fire loss in the city was estimated at just over $2.8 million.

The department received the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce's "best looking building" award for the new station. Fieffer said Station 1 on Swanson Road was also remodeled, making it more energy-efficient, and Station 2 on Old Porter Road also saw improvements.

Fieffer said his team is continuing to work toward getting the county on the State's SAFE-T or 800 mgh network to update the communications system.

Portage firefighters received 7,825 man-hours of training, averaging over 126 hours per firefighter.

The department also continued its annual fire prevention program in October visiting each of the elementary schools within the city with a targeted education/prevention program for each grade level ranging from introducing a firefighter to kindergartners to escape and home safety plans for upper level students. In addition, the department hosted its annual open house.

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Joyce has been a staff writer for The Times for more than 20 years. She is the municipal and education reporter for Porter County. She is an amateur genealogist and writes a blog, Remember your Roots, appearing online each Thursday.