Al Badgley is retiring after nearly 35 years with the Haines Volunteer Fire Department. (Emily Files)

Haines Volunteer Firefighter Al Badgley. (Emily Files)

Haines Borough saw an uptick in emergency calls last year.

Haines dispatch received more calls for emergency medical service in 2018 than any previous year, according to statistics compiled this week.

At 394, the total number of calls has increased by about 70 over the last two years.

Haines Volunteer Firefighter Al Badgley says it is difficult to attribute the increase in calls to one thing in particular.

“You know, there’s a lot more activity here. We’re getting a little bit more tourist activity,” Badgley says. “I think people are getting more comfortable with using the ambulance as a means of transport.”

Badgley says the call data will be used to figure out priorities for training volunteers. He points to the high number of cardiac-related calls as an example.

“If we look at cardiac calls as one of our higher levels of calls, we’re going to be doing specific training to try to address those problems so we can better prepare ourselves for that particular type of call,” Badgley says.

2018 saw more fire-related calls in Haines than any previous year as well.

According to the fire department’s statistics, fires caused an estimated $178,000 worth of damage. Most of the fire calls received were related to brush fires or controlled burns. Badgley says such calls are often the result of residents failing to obtain a burn permit.

Someone calls in that there’s a fire in their neighborhood and if we don’t have a controlled burn permit for that area, we have to send a fire truck out to investigate that. If you basically follow the proper procedure for controlled burns we can alleviate that problem and that’s something we want to try to work on,” Badgley says.

Meanwhile, the Haines Borough Police Department reports that the total number of criminal cases filed has decreased by about one third since 2016 while non-criminal cases filed have increased by a third.