Fire Chief Lloyd Bertram provided a fascinating review of the New Berlin Fire Department during his visit to the Rotary Club on March 12. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the fire department's four stations offer New Berlin residences and businesses the full array of fire services.
For decades after its inception in 1954, the fire department was an all-volunteer force. That started changing in 2001, Bertram said, when the city decided to switch from a private volunteer company to a municipal fire department. From 2001 to 2008 the department gradually transitioned toward a full-time staff. In 2008, the first personnel trained to the paramedic level began working 24-hour shifts.
Currently, all four fire stations are staffed 24/7 with a total of 12 paramedics and firefighters.
Bertram started his firefighting career with the Franklin Fire Department in 1989. He was hired at chief of New Berlin Fire Department in October 2010.
New Berlin Fire Department handles 3,700-3,800 calls each year, Bertram said. Of those, 80% are for ambulance services. "Everything from cuts to pulse-less, nonbreathing [individuals]," he said.
Mutual aid agreements allowed the city to close one fire station, at a considerable cost savings. Additional savings were realized when New Berlin joined the Waukesha County Communications system. "All calls go seamlessly through the dispatch center," he said.
Responding to a question, Bertram advised everyone to install a carbon monoxide detector at home. The detector, which can be placed anywhere in the house, is a "very worthwhile investment."
Bertram is very happy to be New Berlin's fire chief. "It's the best job in the world," he said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."
The Rotary Club of New Berlin is comprised of civic-minded citizens and business people committed to making New Berlin an even better community. Charted in 1970, the club has supported numerous organizations and individuals over the years. To learn more, visit our website. Feel free to join us for lunch sometime.
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