By Christine Bryant
Reynoldsburg residents who live in Licking County now have a new fire station close to home.
Last month, the West Licking Joint Fire District officially opened Station 404 in a leased building at 7821 Taylor Road. Though the station initially was staffed 12 hours a day, two medics are now at the station 24 hours a day, West Licking Administrator Steve Little said.
Located just south of Broad Street, the station serves a growing area of not only Reynoldsburg, but Licking County as well. During a 30-day period from mid-June to mid-July, medics from the new station made 60 runs to respond to medical emergencies at households or businesses in that area alone.
“We’re constantly analyzing our numbers and we saw a need for this station,” Little said.
With growing neighborhoods and the opening of the new Amazon fulfillment center in Etna just around the corner, having a station serving the Taylor Road corridor helps reduce response times and save lives, Little said.
Nationally, only 6 to 9 percent of people who experience cardiac arrest, of which that medical emergency is witnessed, survive. Locally, that number jumps to around 12 percent, but last year in the West Licking Joint Fire District, that number rose to 25 percent.
“For us to get to the next level, our studies show we need to be there within 5 to 6 minutes,” Little said.
As part of the department’s Cardiac Arrest Survival Plan, the goal is to have personnel strategically placed, Little said.
Dan Skinner, an at-large member of Reynoldsburg City Council who also serves on the West Licking Joint Fire District board, said when trustees realized the Reynoldsburg portion of the district was growing rapidly and its call volume had increased significantly in recent years, they began looking for solutions.
“It was important for us to have a greater presence in Reynoldsburg so that we could serve our community in a more timely and efficient manner,” he said. “Chief (Todd) Magers and his staff worked diligently to find a great location at 7821 E. Taylor Road, Suite B.”
As the area continues to grow, Magers says the district may look at expanding that location to include additional fire personnel, though the two medics stationed there also carry fire tools and equipment.
By opening the Taylor Road location, Magers says crews have increased response time along the corridor by at least three to four minutes – a crucial amount of time in emergency situations.
Currently, the West Licking Joint Fire District responds to nearly 5,000 calls a year, covering a total of 110 square miles.
“With the addition of this station so close to Reynoldsburg residents, and residents in general, it will shorten response times tremendously,” said Brett Luzader, Reynoldsburg City Councilman who represents Ward 2, of which the northeast portion falls in Licking County.
“Having an EMT that close will also save lives because in an emergency situation, such as a heart attack or stroke, seconds make all the difference in the world.”
In addition to an ambulance, the station is outfitted with bunks, a kitchen area, workout room, seating area and restrooms. The fire district is working on installing the necessary fiber optics to communicate with the other stations and 911 center. Currently, communications are mostly received via radio.
Once this is finished, the department will plan an open house and invite the public to visit the new station.
“We are very blessed to have a responsive service through Chief Magers and the West Licking Fire District,” said Marshall Spalding, Reynoldsburg city councilman who represents Ward 3. Most of Spalding’s ward is located in Licking County. “They work closely to see to it that the needs of our Licking County portion of Reynoldsburg are met.”
Photo courtesy of Reynoldsburg Division of Police
Reynoldsburg Division of Police Officer Joe Danzey traveled to Dallas this month to mourn the loss of his former colleagues and to represent RPD at their memorials and funerals. He is pictured here with Officer Bryan Swanson, right, with the Denver Colorado Police Department. Both were partners while working for the Dallas Police Department.