The Struthers Fire Department responded to 862 calls in 2017. The department already has responded to 493 this year, and Struthers Fire Chief William Simcox doesn’t anticipate the pace of calls will slow.
“Our calls have been increasing every year,” he said.
Though most of the calls are medical emergencies — likely a result of the city’s aging adults, as 17 percent of the city’s population is 65 or older, according to the most recent census data — they keep the firefighters busy.
Simcox said the department staffs the smaller fire station on the city’s North Side with one firefighter and the main station with two. When an emergency happens, the firefighters on duty respond and call for backup from on-call volunteers if necessary.
Though this system allows the city to keep firefighter labor costs down, it also means firefighters may arrive to emergencies alone if part-timers aren’t available.