South Milwaukee Fire Department Publishes 2019 Annual Report

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South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joe Knitter presented the department’s 2019 annual report at Tuesday’s South Milwaukee Common Council meeting.

You can see it here, and you can see the presentation Chief Knitter made to the council on the Facebook Live video of the meeting (25:30 mark).

I offered my continued thanks and gratitude to these heroes, and thank them for their service in keeping us safe. Here is Chief Knitter’s introductory letter …

On behalf of the dedicated members of the South Milwaukee Fire Department, it is with great pleasure that I present our 2019 Annual Report. Contained in this report is a brief snapshot of the efforts put forth by the hard working members of your fire department who continue to provide the exceptional level of service they are known for with the limited resources on hand. Like our community, the fire service continues to change and the South Milwaukee Fire Department is committed to change, as well, to meet the needs of our community.

Of significance in 2019 was the noteworthy reduction in dollar loss associated with structure fires. While estimates of dollar loss by fire personnel attempt to be reflective of actual damages, true dollar loss could only be measured by determining what insurance costs were actually paid out to repair, restore, or replace material items, like structures and belongings. What cannot be measured is the physical, emotional, and psychological impact felt by someone who experiences a fire. While identifying a single cause for this
reduction is nearly impossible, it is my belief that it can attributed to several factors, all of which continue to be our focus: early detection of fires due to increased numbers of smoke detectors, early activation of the 9-1-1 system, quick “turn-out” and response times on the part of fire personnel, and quick and efficient personnel deployment once on scene.

Our overall call volume decreased slightly from 3481 calls for service in 2018 to 3345 calls for service in 2019, with the largest single decrease involving Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responses, which account for nearly 84% of our call volume. Our focus on the at–risk populations in our community continues with increased safety presentations in apartment buildings for those age 55-and-over, earlier referral to the South Milwaukee Health Department for more appropriate and patient-focused medical care, and continued training on response to bariatric patients, a patient demographic that continues to rise in numbers. In 2019, we utilized our bariatric response equipment on twenty-eight different responses, focusing on safe and efficient patient handling, as well as personnel safety and injury avoidance.

In closing, the South Milwaukee Fire Department will continue to answer the call 24/7/365 and maintain its high level of service delivery as we respond to the needs of the community as an all-hazard, all-risk department. Our focus will remain on community involvement, risk reduction, fire prevention, public education, and delivering timely, professional, effective, and efficient service. The members of the South Milwaukee Fire Department and I would like to thank Mayor Erik Brooks, the members of the Common
Council and Police and Fire Commission, and our citizens for all their hard work and continued support.

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