SPRINGFIELD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Springfield Township firefighters are now getting paid hourly instead of per call. This is because the department is now staffed 100% of the time. We learned how the first 24 hours went.

An ambulance leaves the Springfield Township Fire Department garage Tuesday morning, but now the EMTs and firefighters are paid an hourly rate.

“We used to be compensated on a pay-per-call basis and right now, we switched to an hourly pay for all personnel. So if they’re at the hospital at a long wait, then they’re getting paid per hour,” said Springfield Township Fire Chief Matt Gebhardt.

The township used to be strictly volunteer but the transition to part-time staffing will help with the high call volume.

“June 5 at 8 a.m. was the first day. They had eight calls that day. So we’re about 775 right now, right around there. So it’s staying busy,” Gebhardt said.

A big benefit of having a staff 24 hours a day, every day is the faster response time.

“Drastic drop in response time, so that’s a huge benefit for our residents. Yesterday, I had probably, if I looked at the numbers, didn’t get the chance to add them up, but I’d say our average response time yesterday was probably 2-3 minutes,” Gebhardt said.

Versus about 10-15 minutes when Gebhardt’s department was responding from home.

As far as scheduling goes for the department…

“Good success so far, and the schedule is filling up so we’re doing good,” Gebhardt said.

Like many other departments, this one is looking to hire more people to join the family.

“It’s a commitment, it is a job. I mean, you have to give up your life sometimes to come and do this but it’s gotta be in your heart,” said EMS Battalion Chief Jim Bacon.

Springfield Township is projecting to reach 1,800 to 2,000 calls for 2023.