Excerpts from the daily-chronicle.com:

According to the annual report presented during a Sycamore City Council meeting, the fire department took 2,281 calls during fiscal 2018, 93 more than in 2017.

Sycamore Fire Chief Pete Polarek said there has been an upward trend in calls overall since fiscal 2010, but he said there isn’t a clear cause for the increase. He said an increase in city residents, an increase in vehicle traffic, or an increase in visitors could have contributed.

The fire department has been addressing concerns of firefighters having a higher risk of cancer because of chemical exposure on calls. He said the department is making sure firefighters limit their exposure to those hazards, including having them wash their equipment, launder their clothes and shower after calls.

There has been a notable increase in the number of patient lift-assist calls in the past couple of years, including calls coming from alarm systems such as LifeAlert. There were 178 of those during fiscal 2018, compared with 164 the year before, and 132 in fiscal 2016. This is the fourth year the department has been collecting patient lift-assist data with the older population living at home longer and living unassisted. He said this wasn’t much of a factor in the past because most people have called family or friends for that kind of help.

Now, there are a lot of older people who don’t have that kind of extended support system and the fire department is starting to see those kinds of calls more often.

Polarek said his department is still able to address the increase in those calls with the staffing that they have, but staff will have to keep an eye on that statistic going forward