Number of emergency calls in 2016 breaks South Whidbey Fire/EMS record

South Whidbey Fire/EMS has already received more emergency calls than any other year, Chief Rusty Palmer announced at the monthly commissioner’s meeting Thursday night.

The record was broken at the end of November, when the amount of calls received surpassed the record of 2,380 set last year. The district received 2,384 calls by the start of December.

Palmer predicts the number of calls this year will “definitely” top 2,500.

The rise comes as South Whidbey ages and more service calls, such as lift assists and moving fallen trees off of roadways, are made. Palmer said the high amount is causing staffing issues at the district, which he said is an issue “every agency” is struggling with.

“Part of the problem has been the volume,” Palmer said. “We’re seeing fewer and fewer volunteers sign up. It’s hard to see why.”