As fire chief of the Truro Township Fire Department, Steve Hein oversees a department thats finding itself more busy as the population of Reynoldsburg, Brice and Truro Township continues to grow.
In 2011, the department responded to approximately 5,000 EMS calls for assistance and more than 1,000 calls for fire and rescue incidents.
As the department faces the challenge of losing tax funding, increased daily runs and increased costs, it is asking for the communitys help. Voters will decide on a 3.9-mill fire/emergency medical services operating levy Nov. 6. The levy would generate approximately $1.8 million in revenue yearly, and would cost a homeowner $10 per month per $100,000 of property valuation.
The Eastside Messenger talked with Hein about the need for the levy, as well as an upcoming open house for the community and some of the challenges the department faces.
CB: When is the fire departments open house and what can community members expect?
SH: An open house will be held for the community on Oct. 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Truro Township Fire Department, 6305 E. Livingston Ave.
The purpose of the open house is to heighten the awareness of Fire Prevention week. It also provides an opportunity to get better acquainted with the firefighters and paramedics that serve them, as well as gaining a better understanding of the services the fire department provides in the community. During an open house, citizens will have a chance to ask general question, view equipment and facilities, and watch demonstrations.
Other activities will include a safety/smoke house, squirt house, medical helicopter display and a Home Depot build-a-fire-truck activity.
CB: As more retail has popped up and the population increased in this area, how has the department adapted?
SH: Weve built a second station to better serve the southern portion of Truro Township, as well as the Village of Brice and Qualstan. We also have added three people per shift to staff additional equipment.
CB: What are some of the biggest challenges the department now faces?
SH: Loss of tax funding, elimination of personal property tax, devaluation of property taxes and cuts in local government funds. Weve had an increase in daily run volume, and are averaging 17 emergency runs a day.
Weve also seen an increase in costs of fuel and equipment, and its always challenging to keep pace with the increased technology for fire and EMS equipment, such as heart monitors and defibrillators.
CB: The township has proposed a levy for fire and emergency medical services. Where would the funds raised with that levy go?
SH: This levy is needed to staff a full-time paramedic ambulance on the west side of Reynoldsburg, and to maintain services for the next six to eight years.
The last time Truro Township asked for additional millage was in 2002. Since that time Truro Township has built an additional fire station and increased the number of firefighters on duty from eight to 13. The number of incidents Truro Township Fire Department responded to in 2002 equaled 3,781 and in 2011 equaled 6,149 runs, an increase in 62 percent.
CB: What are some of the community programs the department offers that have been successful?
SH: Community CPR/first aid programs, Prom Promise, blood pressure screenings, EMS standby at community events and juvenile fire setter prevention. Weve also had fire prevention/education programs specifically tailored for children, young adults and senior citizens, as well as group home/foster home inspections and home day care inspections.
CB: Are there any other ways you have been successful in reaching out using technology?
SH: Utilizing Facebook, as well as our website www.trurotwp.org. Weve recently reached out to township residents by providing them with a brochure that tells them about the services the department provides as well as fire safety/prevention tips.