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Fridley Community Report

Fridley’s Very Valuable Volunteer

We’ve been highlighting and saluting Fridley residents who support the Fridley community by donating their time to City government in one form or another. There is no doubt that this help and support serves to make Fridley City government among the best in the metropolitan area. Time and time again we see evidence that good local government is about staff and Council and community working together and communicating effectively. One of the persons who has consistently contributed to this working relationship among these three key elements is Dave Kondrick, the Chairman of Fridley’s Parks and Recreation Commission and member of the Fridley Planning Commission.

As a result of the kind encouragement of former Councilmember Ed Fitzpatrick, Dave joined the Fridley Parks and Recreation Commissions in 1979. Two years later, he became its chairman, and by virtue of this chairmanship became a member of the Fridley Planning Commission. He has been serving on both groups and will be celebrating his 30th year of participation about the same time as our April newsletter reaches residents’ mailboxes.

In addition to service on City commissions, Dave has been active in other City committees. In 1980 and 1981, for example, he served on a citizen’s advisory committee that investigated the possibility of an indoor recreational facility. In 1996 he served as a member of a special committee that raised more than $300,000 for the landscaping, construction, and furnishing of the Fridley Community Center. Currently, Dave is serving on an advisory committee with members of the

This past fall, Dave served on another committee that was actively involved in the successful amendment of Fridley’s City Charter. Dave and his fellow committee members spent many hours in conversations with Fridley residents in home meetings explaining why the City’s Charter needed to be amended in a way that eliminated Charter restrictions on utility rate increases. He also was involved with other committee members in distributing lawn signs.

demonstrated outstanding service to the community and has promoted services, programs and facilities that enrich the lives of citizens. Others with whom Dave has served also point to his energy and contributions. Dick Young, former Parks and Recreation Commission member who served on the Commission with Dave for more than twenty-five years is one of those who has shared a deep appreciation for Dave’s outstanding leadership. He says, “ I found Dave to be a very caring, conscientious, and concerned member of the Commission. He always kept the best interests of the citizens of Fridley in mind while making a decision. It was a pleasure to have served with him.”

When asked what it is about his service on these committees was satisfying to him, Dave responded that he gets great satisfaction from seeing ideas that benefit Fridley come to fruition. He also cites a sincere satisfaction he has gained from working with two outstanding Parks and Recreation Directors (Chuck Boudreau and Jack Kirk) as well as a large number of dedicated Parks and Recreation Commission and Planning Commission members.

Dave’s energetic and entertaining presence in all of these groups has not gone unnoticed. In 2004, the Minnesota Recreation and Parks Association selected Dave as their Parks and Recreation Commission Award Winner. The award is given to a member of a Minnesota citizen’s advisory committee that has

On behalf of the City Council and city staff, thank you Dave for many years of unpaid volunteer service to Fridley and for your continued participation as a community leader. The City has truly benefited from your unselfish involvement.

Springbrook Nature Center Foundation and City staff to prepare and design improvements that include an expansion of the Interpretive Center, a new outdoor amphitheater and numerous other improvements to Nature Center facilities. The same group has also been actively involved in seeking state funding for this project.

Firefighters Respond to Record Number of Calls

Fridley’s firefighters responded to 2,804 calls for service in 2007. This number compares with 2,568 calls for service in 2006, and 2,719 calls in 2005. The chart below portrays these as well as forecast calls for 2008 through 2011. The projections assume a 5% per year increase in medical assist calls and fire calls at a constant 2007 rate.

More than two-thirds of the calls for service are rescue or medical assist calls. Of the 1,864 rescue or medical assist calls many are for illnesses, difficulty breathing, injury, diabetic reaction, psychiatric reasons, cardiac arrest, seizure, injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents, and a host of other causes. The number of these calls has also steadily increased by more than 25% since 2003.

While the number of medical assist calls by our Fridley firefighters is growing steadily, the number of fire calls has been inconsistent from year to year. In 2007, there were 123 fire calls. This compares to 145 fire calls in 2006, 199 fire calls in 2005, and 171 fire calls in 2004. The number for 2007 includes 35 structural fires. This compares with 32 structural fires in 2006, 39 structural fires in 2005, and 51 structural fires in 2004.

Other Fire Department responses in 2007 included 135 hazardous conditions calls involving things such as downed power lines, gasoline spills, gas leaks, shorting electrical equipment, and hazardous materials releases. Their calls also included service calls, such as those for ring removal, smoke

investigation, flooding, and recreational fires.

Yet another category of Fire Department calls is the false alarm. Each year firefighters roll out of the City’s fire stations to address calls that are triggered by broken sprinkler systems and malfunctioning fire alarm systems. In 2007, this happened 286 times.

Additionally, firefighters responded to another 285 good intent calls in which a problem perceived by a citizen caller turned out to be something other than a fire.

Response times to all of these fire calls have been ranging between six and seven minutes in each of the last four years. Response times for medic assist calls have averaged about five minutes over the same time span. As we get more concurrent medical assist calls, however, this impacts the firefighters’ fire call response times. Firefighter response times are also impacted considerably by the times it takes paid-on-

call firefighters to respond from home as well as by weather, traffic, poor directional information for vehicle accidents, and the growing number of routine service calls and false alarm calls.

In order to help improve response times, the Fire Department hired five additional paid-on-call fire fighters in 2007. Fire Chief John Berg has also created additional paid- on-call firefighter shifts on weekdays and Friday nights. In theory this enables the Fire Department to respond with a fire engine staffed by at least three firefighters or a rescue unit with two firefighters and a third person standing by. While this represents minimum staffing for both types of calls, it does allow a truck or rescue unit to leave the station without waiting for paid-on- call firefighters to respond from their homes. Ideally, a structural fire response requires an estimated twenty-two firefighters. With current staffing, Fridley typically has only eleven to twelve firefighters available on weekdays and must rely on mutual aid with other cities to fill the void. The only logical way to continue this reduction of response times would be to continue to add more staff and more shifts in future years. Finding funding for these improvements will no doubt be a major budget issue as the City budgets for 2009 and beyond.

If you have comments or questions about Fire Department calls and/or response times, please contact Fire Chief John Berg at bergj@ci.fridley.mn.us.

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