PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s been a record year for some Central Illinois firefighters. In 2022, multiple area fire departments responded to their most calls ever.

This year, Central Illinois firefighters have had their hands full.

“It’s been a very busy year. We’re going to hit over 20,000 calls again this year,” said Chief Shawn Sollberger, Peoria Fire Department.

In Peoria, year-over-year fire department calls have been up 15 percent since Thanksgiving.

“We see an uptick in medical calls, we saw an uptick during this time in regards to car accidents, and then now with what we experienced last week in regards to the frozen pipes and just multiple in alarms,” Sollberger said.

Chief Sollberger said that the increase in calls can be taxing on the department’s resources.

“It really puts us in a tough spot moving equipment around, moving resources around to try to cover areas but we do a pretty good job with that,” Sollberger said.

In 2022, the Bloomington Fire Department has responded to a record more than 13,200 calls and counting, more than 70 percent are EMS related.

“It could be for a lock-in, it could be for a lift assist, these numbers aren’t just for a single ambulance response,” Frank Friend, Bloomington Fire Department public information officer.

Friend said the department has responded to 195 fire incidents. The number one cause of residential fires is cooking.

“We’re looking at about 77,000 dollars in damages,” Friend said. “it just kind of highlights the need for renters insurance.”

In Bloomington, Friend said community risk reduction programs are used to educate on fire prevention.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to try to decrease that number of overall call volume in certain segments that need it the most,” Friend said.

Pekin’s fire union also reported a record more than 6,700 calls this year.

Both Sollberger and Friend said the new Illinois law updating the type of smoke detectors required in homes will be a big help in reducing fires.