The majority of Bloomington Fire Department calls are for emergency medical services. Fire Chief Brian Mohr told aldermen in his annual report that when they are called for a fire, they arrive in six minutes 72 percent of the time.
Bloomington fire department responded to over 10 thousand calls this past year, an increase from previous years. Mohr said the increase is a constant challenge.
"As those call volumes increase, we're gonna have a hard time meeting our performance benchmarks in terms of our response times, without additional units on the street," said Mohr.
The department is focusing on updating training rooms and station alert systems in the upcoming year. They also received the American Heart Association EMS Gold Award. They were one of two departments in Illinois to receive this award.
Traffic signal controls in Bloomington may be getting some improvements as Mohr presented possible upgrades. Among them are more advanced traffic signal control technology. Many of Bloomington’s traffic lights currently have technology that allows fire trucks to change their timers to green. Mohr said that although this system is helpful, it has a flaw.
"The drawback is that the system that we have just doesn't have the ability of clearing traffic ahead, which on busy roadways such as Veterans Parkway, Empire Street, Washington Street, those roadways see a lot of traffic. We just can't get close enough to that signal to get it to change fast enough," said Mohr.
Mohr said newer technology uses GPS signals to turn all lights along the fire trucks route to green. That means quicker response times and hopefully less damage. If the council does decide to get new traffic light technology, it would be the first upgrade since 2009.