(Posted on May 21, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Range Township Fire Department is among this year’s recipients of a State Fire Marshal equipment grant.
The grant program is open to fire departments that serve populations of less than 25,000. Funds are earmarked for communications equipment and protective gear.
Departments in 60 of Ohio’s 88 counties received funding, ranging from $1,400 to $10,000. The total amount granted across the state for 2020 was approximately $1.1 million. Range Township received $10,000.
“It’s definitely a big boost for our department,” said John Meyer, who served as a firefighter for the all-volunteer department for eight years before becoming chief in October of last year.
Meyer said the money will go toward the purchase of two sets of turnout gear, including helmets, coats, pants, gloves and boots, as well as several pagers.
Each set of turnout gear costs about $4,000 and is good for 10 years before it is considered to be out of date. Range Township has 15 firefighters on its roster. The department replaces turnout gear on a rotating basis, rather than buying 15 new sets at a time.
“That lets us put funding toward another piece of rescue equipment, more hose and nozzles, or more training for our guys,” Meyer said.
The pagers are one-way communication devices that allow firefighters to hear when the station and others in the area receive calls. It’s a way for them to receive information until they get to a truck equipped with a radio.
This is the fourth time the Range Township Fire Department has received a State Fire Marshal equipment grant in the past 10 years. The others came in 2010 ($8,000), 2013 ($10,000) and 2016 ($10,000).
The station is located at 13715 Main St., Midway, and serves all of Range Township, which has a population of about 1,000.
On average, the department makes 80 to 90 runs per year. Last year, that number was closer to 120. Meyer attributes the increase to road construction projects on I-71 that resulted in increased calls for auto accidents and mutual aid to other departments in the area.