Booklet honors fire dept.

By Lisa Daigle

“Fire Tales,” a commemorative booklet celebrating 120 years of fire service in DeKalb, is being sold throughout the city to raise money for the paramedic department.

Mary K. Long, chairperson of the 120th anniversary committee, said the 50-page booklet is the first of its kind and documents the history of the DeKalb Fire Department through pictures and words.

“DeKalb is a very historical town, and it has a lot of exciting and interesting stories,” Long said.

The city of DeKalb loaned the committee about $7,000 to produce 5,000 copies. Long said the city will be repaid through the booklet’s sales.

“Fire Tales” is being sold at $5 per copy, and Long said she estimates 4,500 copies will be sold. Buying a booklet is “in a way, helping the community,” she said.

Booklets can be purchased at the DeKalb Municipal Building, DeKalb Fire Station No. 1 and the DeKalb Public Library, among other locations.

DeKalb Fire Chief Jeff Long said any money given to the fire department after the city loan is paid would go toward the purchasing of advanced life support equipment for the paramedics.

Long said these purchases would help “make their (paramedics) job easier and more efficient,” but the basic services required are already provided.

The paramedic program is going through a “major upgrading” and the paramedics are being trained more than what is currently required, J. Long said.

Advanced life support and pediatric life support is being taught. J. Long said he would like to have some of the more advanced equipment that goes along with the training for the paramedics to use.

There are 17 paramedics in DeKalb and three ambulances, all operating on a $393,815 budget this year.

DeKalb Paramedics answer between 14,000 and 15,000 calls per year, J. Long said.