(Kennewick, WA) -- The Kennewick Fire Department says they responded to 16% more emergency calls in 2021. Fire Chief Chad Michael says they are on track to respond to 17% more calls in 2022 with the year not yet over. Michael says that could mean a 23% rise combined over two years. Michael says the reasons for the increased number of calls are multiple, but a big reason is the population growth that we've seen in the Tri-Cities. That's also combined with the end of pandemic restrictions, where Chief Michael says a number of patients wanted to stay away from hospitals so they could avoid coming into contact with Covid-19 patients. Michael says they are prepared to handle the increase in the calls and are looking at ways they can be more effective in their response.

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