WALLINGFORD — As a new deputy fire chief steps into his role, changes are coming for the fire department’s response to medical emergencies.
Deputy Fire Chief Sam Wilson was recently promoted after the retirement of Steve Alsup.
Wilson, 39, joined the fire department in 2007. He spent eight years as a company officer before being promoted to EMS lieutenant.
Continuing along those lines, Wilson is the deputy chief in charge of emergency medical service operations and special operations. The other deputy fire chief is Joseph Czentnar.
“I would like us to continue to be a progressive department with emergency medical services,” Wilson said.
Wallingford is an “all-hazard fire department,” he said, with members trained in hazmat, confined space rescues and rope rescue equipment.
“It’s important when you’re recruiting and trying to provide services to people that you’re cutting edge,” he said, “that you’re doing the new things, you’re doing the work and you’re making sure you’re providing the best care possible.”
Wallingford currently has a 63-member department that runs 10 fire and EMS vehicles. As part of the change in response model, department personnel is going down to 52 members as of July 1, but 16 new EMTs are scheduled to be on the road in a basic life support ambulance—four per shift—by that time, Wilson said.
If a person needs advanced life support, engine company medics will be able to respond, Wilson said.
The biggest thing driving the change is the fact that about 80 percent of call volume is for EMS.
“It’s pretty much been steady like that for probably at least 10 years here,” Wilson said, “and that’s pretty much across the country, that about 80 percent of what you actually do for public safety is emergency medical services.”
The change in service delivery started at the federal level with changes in Medicare, and has come down to the state level with legislation in mobile integrated health care, he said.‘Great motivator’
The new EMS lieutenant taking over Wilson’s old role is Michael Krupinski. The swearing-in ceremony for promoted officers is scheduled for March.
Alsup's date of retirement was Jan. 3. His annual salary at the time of retirement was $118,227. Wilson's start date as deputy chief was Jan. 30 at an annual salary of $107,234.
Wilson grew up in Bristol and lives in Colchester with his wife, Heather Wilson, and three children.
He came to Wallingford after four years at the Fairfax County Fire And Rescue Department in Virginia, near the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. He earned a master’s degree in public administration and post-graduate certificate in human resource management from the University of New Haven in 2015.
“He is a very aggressive and progressive firefighter and fire officer, and that led him to the position,” Czentnar said about Wilson. “He’s well-connected in the EMS area in the state, and that passion lead him to the EMS lieutenant role for a short time, and he tested well for deputy fire chief.”
Czentnar added that in his new role, Wilson will be overseeing EMS training for the whole department.
“He motivates people that work for him to seek more training, more specialized training,” he said. “He’s a great motivator like that.”