Geneva seeks to improve firefighters | News

GENEVA — The city’s fire department is looking to increase manpower during night shifts and improve waterfront coverage for potential operations on Lake Erie.

Geneva fire chief David Shook, hired last year, recently delivered a report to city council detailing the department’s work in 2021 and ideas for improving the department in the future.

“My biggest concern from the start was that our firefighting personnel were working alone,” Shook said.

He said he was working with part-time budget fighters to increase nighttime coverage and the department was building separate sleeping areas for male and female firefighters.

Shook said there were 25 water rescue calls last year, so he plans to expand waterfront coverage but will still work with the Ashtabula County Water Rescue Team.

Shook said the department is also considering the possible donation of a boat to the city for water rescue operations. He said an assessment will be carried out to determine if this is the best direction to take.

Currently, the department owns a 16-foot boat which is kept at Station 2.

“I have 18 people interested in being part of this team,” he said.

“Staffing is an issue everywhere,” Shook said.

He said he was working to increase interest in firefighting careers.

“I try to coordinate some things with the schools,” he said.

A curriculum focused on seventh graders is something he hopes to develop.

“We need to help young people see that it’s okay to be a cop or a firefighter,” he said.

Shook said the Explorers Department currently has one member. He hopes to increase his participation in the youth training program.

“Luckily we have an amazing group of guys,” Shook told the board.

Geneva City Councilor Jeff Griffiths thanked Shook for the expertise that department staff provide to the rest of the city’s departments.

The report provided by Shook states that Geneva firefighters responded to 598 calls in 2021, including 54 fires, 92 rescue and emergency calls and 92 false alarms.

The report also shows that city firefighters responded to calls for mutual assistance in 10 different jurisdictions, including 28 in Madison and 20 in Geneva-sur-le-Lac and one in Conneaut.