Buckeye Lake Residents Protest Outside Fire Department

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Nearly two dozen Buckeye Lake residents protested in front of the Buckeye Lake Fire Department Thursday evening.

The protestors said they are not getting full protection from fire crews.
"Our EMS services are not what they need to be and they've had nearly a year to improve and they're not doing it," says resident Peggy Wells.

Wells says the department has had a number of problems over the last year.

"We've had people come late to shifts or leaving early," Wells said. "We'd like to see our response times cut down."

Wells said some residents want the department to outsource some emergency services to neighboring Hebron Fire Department.

"We want them to contract for the EMS services with Hebron for $110,750 per year," says Wells.

As some drivers honked their support for Wells outside the station, firefighters pleaded their case inside.

"The budget doesn't allow us to have 24/7 coverage with a full crew here," says Buckeye Lake Fire Department Captain David Rutan.

Fire officials said their yearly budget is $228,000. As a result, they say they are dependent on volunteers.

"We did have some problems with some shifts. Part of it was when certain people left at the same time," Rutan said.

The village is considering several proposals to partner with a neighboring Hebron Fire Department, but officials say it could wipe out their entire budget without fixing the staffing issues.

In the meantime, officials say they've hired seven new firefighters and EMTs. They have also implemented a new paging system designed to help cover shifts when a firefighter or paramedic calls out sick.

"I can't say we're completely done with improving our services. We want to, but it's an ongoing process," says Rutan.

The village has not set a deadline for when a final decision will be made on the proposals.

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