Council hears emergency services reports

Emergency calls increased in 2017

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — The emergency service agencies in Covington presented their year-end reports for 2017 during the Covington Council meeting Monday evening, revealing that requests for service were up from 2016.

“For 2017, for the EMS side of things, we actually had a record-breaking year in the number of calls,” Assistant Rescue Chief Brad Weer said about the EMS side of Covington Fire and Rescue.

Covington Fire and Rescue responded to approximately 663 EMS calls. Brad Weer said that he researched back five years in their history and the highest number he could find within that time frame was 611 calls.

They responded to 401 calls in the village of Covington and 147 calls in Newberry Township, in addition to a minimal number of calls in surrounding villages and townships. They also responded to 84 calls at the Covington Care Center.

In regard to the heroin and opioid epidemic, they responded to six drug overdoses and administered a total of 23 doses of Narcan to those patients.

Their busiest days were Saturdays, and their busiest times were around 6 p.m. during the last year. Their average response time to EMS calls was approximately three minutes, including calls where volunteers responded from home.

The EMS side of Covington Fire and Rescue is now staffed 24 hours a day, which Mayor Ed McCord commended. Covington Fire and Rescue was able to go to full-time EMS staffing due to a 2.5-mill levy that village voters approved in 2016.

It has also been two years now since Covington Fire and Rescue merged, Fire Chief Bart Weer said. “The transitions went well,” he said.

The fire department side of Covington Fire and Rescue responded to a total of 221 calls, including 62 calls in the village of Covington and 41 calls in Newberry Township. Bart Weer also said that the department responded to 64 fire calls in Piqua, but he noted that they have a mutual aid agreement with Piqua to respond to fire calls in Piqua and most of those mutual aid calls were canceled.

The department also responded to 37 fire calls in Washington Township in the Piqua area, which has a contract with Covington Fire and Rescue. The department also responded to a minimal number of calls in other neighboring villages and townships.

Bart Weer went over highlights for Covington Fire and Rescue this year, including use of the new ambulance. They were also awarded a grant from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for a power load cot, which cost approximately $19,369. The local portion of that purchase was $6,456. The cot will help protect against back injuries.

The department also received a grant from the Miami County Foundation for new thermal imagers at a cost of approximately $5,000.

Two long-time firefighters retired this year — Doug Haines after approximately 44 years with the department and Andy Angle after approximately 27 years with the department. Corey Haines was hired as a probationary firefighter, making him the third generation of his family to serve with the department.

The department also held a number of fire prevention programs in the community throughout the year, including the annual fire prevention program for Covington school students between kindergarten and sixth grade, safety day at the JR Clarke Library, and the young adult fire prevention program.

In regard to Covington Police Department, their calls were up from last year as well.

Police Chief Lee Harmon said that the department responded to approximately 2,733 complaints in 2017, up from approximately 2,337 complaints in 2016. The department had 576 arrests. Traffic citations and warnings were up, which Harmon attributed to more aggressive enforcement of traffic laws.

In regard to drugs, Harmon said that they issued approximately 25 drug paraphernalia charges, which doubled from the 12 charges they issued in 2016.

Other charges in regard to OVI charges and driving while under suspension were also up. “We’ve been a lot busier,” Harmon said.

The department also is continuing to support their School Resource Officer Tim Cline. “That still is a hit,” Harmon said. “It’s been great.”

McCord commended Cline and his presence at the schools, saying, “What you can’t measure is what it prevents.”

In other news:

Later in the meeting, Village Administrator Mike Busse updated the council on its salt supply. “We have received approximately 100 tons of road salt from Compass Minerals through our ODOT contract,” he said. “This should be enough to carry us through the rest of the winter.”

The village is also ready to provide residents with their annual income tax assistance help days. “The 2017 Covington income tax forms have been mailed to Covington residents,” Busse said.

Staff from the Department of Taxation will be at the municipal building in Covington, 1 S. High St., to assist residents on the following days and times:

• Saturday, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Thursday, April 5, from 1-4 p.m.

• Tuesday, April 10, from 6-8 p.m.

The council also approved the following legislation during their meeting:

• Authorization for Busse to advertise for bids for a new single-axle dump truck to replace the 1992 dump truck that was sold last year.

• Authorization of the 2018 Sidewalk Program and authorization for Busse to advertise for bids for the annual program, which will affect a number of addresses mostly on North Main Street between the 200 block and 400 blocks of the street.

• Approval to adopt the 2018 Ohio Basic Code.

• Authorization for the destruction and shredding of records and documents per the village’s record retention ordinance.

• Authorization for Busse to apply for an Ohio EPA market development grant in partnership with Resource One.

The three-reading rule was waived for all resolutions that required one.

Emergency calls increased in 2017

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336

Reach Sam Wildow at or (937) 451-3336