Altona/Rhineland Emergency Services has closed the books on another year of operation.

Fire Chief Greg Zimmerman says overall, calls in 2021 were down from the previous year.

“The Altona Rhineland Emergency Services had responded to 59 calls. In the previous year, 2020, we responded to 73 calls. For our department, the 14 call difference is huge. I mean, that's a big percentage reduction of calls. Fortunately, in 2021 our calls weren't like the previous year. There weren't any major calls. We didn't have any major fires. It turned out to be a very good year for us.”

Averaging 15 or 16 people per call, Zimmerman says the response by members was good in response to a range of calls.

“Our biggest one was motor vehicle accidents. We actually had nine calls that we ran for the motor vehicle accidents, seven fire calls, three grass fires, five fire alarms, one false alarm, two rescue calls and nine mutual aid calls, and two medical calls that we assisted EMS. We had 21 calls that were listed as ‘other.’ All the little things we do like CO calls or smoke investigation or where it doesn't really fit into any of the above categories.”

Zimmerman is also pleased with training attendance, which averaged twenty people per session.

“We finished off a Level One course. The guys did their ICS 100. A bunch of guys did their HAZMAT operations. Other than that, it was just kind of routine training. Sometimes we were able to train as a group, other times we had to break off into cohorts. Sometimes we had to cancel training, basically due to COVID.”

Other than losing a senior captain and some rotation of younger firefighters, Zimmerman says membership has held relatively steady.