South Bay Fire Department being pro-active

South Bay working towards development

Volunteer Fire Department to hold fundraiser in order to update

By Brett Findlay

The South Bay Volunteer fire department wants to expand its firehouse.

"We've grown out of the facility," said Chuck Hawks, former chief of the department and current chairman of the its building committee. There has been no change in storage at the fire station since 1955, when the original building was erected.

Four bays already service six emergency vehicles, bays that were originally built to house much smaller fire engines and rescue vehicles. The height and width restrictions leave the fire engines with the bare minimum amount of available space to be parked.

Standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, mandate that equipment and supplies must be stored so that vehicle operation or maintenance is not hindered in any way, shape or form. OSHA regulations make it that much more difficult to properly house all of the tools, equipment, supplies and vehicles necessary for the department, Hawks noted.

South Bay currently has approximately 48 members. The department services 1,114 homes; with Cicero's ongoing housing boom, it is estimated that within three to four years there will be nearly 1,600 "serviceable" homes. In 2004, Cicero's population growth was the largest in Central New York; its population has increased by 7 percent from 2000 to 2005.

The nine square miles that the S.B.V.F.D. covers has 32 miles of streets, representing growth of 68 percent from 1955. Last year, the department made 407 service calls, a 480-percent increase from its charter year, a 118-percent increase from 1990 and a 24-percent increase from 2000.

South Bay also covers a mutual aid area that includes the Clay, Cicero, Bridgeport and Brewerton fire departments. The department is also responsible for mutual aid on Oneida Lake in three different counties; Oswego, Oneida and Madison covering districts such as: Bridgeport, Canastota, Constantia, Cleveland, North Bay, Sylvan Beach and West Monroe. Moreover, South Bay also covers response calls dispatched from the U.S. Coast Guard, 911 dispatch and the Onondaga, Oneida, and Madison County sheriff's departments.

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