Jefferson Township Fire seeks input for strategy

(Posted May 26, 2016)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

The Jefferson Township Fire Department wants to know how it can better serve its coverage area. To find out, it’s asking residents to comment on the department’s strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s like we’re drawing up a road map for the future,” Chief Bill Houk said. “We’re asking the community stakeholders what we need to provide for them.”

Business representatives, residents, and school leaders came together in April and will meet again in June.

“We’re trying to determine what we need to do,” Houk said. “Do we need more apparatus, more training, more or less staffing?”

Those who attended the first strategic planning session broke into four groups and shared their concerns. With the help of the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association, the resulting comments will be prioritized and brought back for discussion at the second session. Communications, staffing and professional development are among the topics on the table.

Houk stressed that the process is strictly for where the department is headed; in no way does it pertain to a tax levy.

One of Houk’s concerns is growth in the business/industrial park and whether or not his department is equipped to handle an emergency situation there.

The department has a staff of 14 full-time firefighters and 30 part-timers working out of one station. When needed, Jefferson Township can call for mutual aid from Prairie, Pleasant and Norwich townships in neighboring Franklin County, Pleasant Valley in Plain City, Fairfield Township, London, and Madison EMS.

The focus group will meet again June 17 in the training room at Ace Hardware.

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