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Cardinal fire district hires 4

CANFIELD — The Cardinal Joint Fire District board of directors welcomed two paramedics and two emergency medical technicians, bringing the department closer to its staffing goal of 45.

That’s the number fire Chief Don Hutchison gave prior to the passage of a 1.63-mill levy in May for what he needed to run full-time ambulance service. The joint fire district was losing emergency medical personnel due to higher wages at neighboring departments.

The department prepared for this year to begin hiring. The first was Steven Fender, an EMT hired Dec. 29, 2022.

At a meeting Monday, Shaun Serich of Poland, and Courtney Kee of Alliance, were sworn in as full-time firefighters / paramedics.

Also, Dan Earley of Canfield, and Michael Gensamer of Ellsworth, were sworn in as part-time EMTs.

The additions brought the staff level to 42 as one part-timer had left the district.

“So I am only up by three with this group of hirings,” Hutchison said.

Nikunj Patel, fire district board president, said: “It is definitely exciting to be able to get the staff to operate at full capacity and support our community with the service they expect. It is critical to have the right people to do the job.”

In December, Hutchison reported 208 calls were received with 106 being ambulance transports. The department had five mutual aid calls and received two, mostly for fires.

With the growing staff, Hutchison reported there are not enough lockers. He found some wooden lockers for $1,100 each that would work.

Board member John Morvay asked why metal cabinets could not be used. Hutchison said the department had metal lockers and they all rusted. He said the wooden ones look better and for many staff members, the locker is their home when on 24-hour shifts.

Also, Hutchison reported on an IT problem the department experienced earlier this month. He said the department was hacked, possibly through its Wi-Fi.

“Someone used our system to send out requests,” said deputy Chief Matt Rarick.

Hutchison said the hack did not steal any information; it just took over the phone system.

Hutchison said he contacted several companies to remedy the situation. The best fix came from Peak IT out of Valley Office Solutions in Youngstown to update all three stations with newer equipment. The cost would be $20,405 and would protect the system from attacks.

The board approved the contract with Peak IT.

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