By Amanda Amsel
Part-time firefighters and dispatchers will see a pay increase, thanks to action approved by the board at a recent meeting.
Prairie Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder asked the board for a 38 cent pay increase for first year part-time firefighters, a 41 cent pay increase for second year part-time firefighters and a 40 cent pay increase for part-time firefighters that have been with the township over two years. Synder also asked for a 35 cent pay increase for first year part-time dispatchers, a 35 cent pay increase for second year part-time dispatchers and a 35 cent pay increase for part-time dispatchers that have been with the township over two years.
“Each year we try to monitor the market and stay in somewhat of a competitive range,” Synder said.
According to Synder, these employees do not receive benefits, so it is important that the township factors in inflation and other cost of living factors when determining these employees’ salaries.
At the meeting, Synder also answered questions about the township’s smoke detector program.
“The program has slowed over the holidays,” he said. “However, this will be picking up very soon by visits from our on duty crews.”
The program aims to raise awareness and educate residents in Prairie Township about the importance of having a working smoke detector. To date, township volunteers have knocked on 40 percent of township residents’ doors to check their smoke detector. Their goal is to reach out to over 5,000 single family homes in the township.
“Last year, we had great partners in our organized drives,” Synder said. “The American Red Cross has been actively involved in all of our drives and Abercrombie & Fitch joined in our last drive with 30 volunteers where we visited 460 homes in a three hour period. I have been approached by other groups who have expressed an interest that we will likely team up with beginning in the spring.”
According to the fire chief, many residents in the township do not have a working smoke detector.
“We have visited many homes that have had non-working smoke detectors or no smoke detectors at all,” Synder said. “I can tell you that we have had two major fires that have been visited by our department. One of those cases had no working smoke detectors prior to our visit and was alerted by the smoke detectors that we installed. The second was a home that had smoke detectors that were checked by our firefighters and found to be in working order.”
One of the leading causes of a death due to a fire at home is not having a working smoke detector. Synder said only a few dollars every few months could save countless lives.
“I have said from the beginning of this program, we cannot offer our residents a more valuable gift than working smoke detectors in their home,” he said. “Annually we talk to thousands of children through the schools and other events on the importance of smoke detectors, but we continue to find that the message does not get delivered at home or the message is ignored. We live in a society of convenience, so we felt that we would make it our mission to personally go to our residents homes and offer them an opportunity to have their detectors checked, batteries replaced or new detectors installed free of charge.”
To request to have your smoke detector tested, contact the Prairie Township Fire Department at http://www.prairietownship.org/130/Fire-Department.