Mount Vernon News

By Mount Vernon News
March 8, 2013 9:55 am EST


GAMBIER — It’s easy for community residents to assume that the fire department will “show up,” particularly when flames are apparent. But volunteer fire departments nationwide are pressed to respond quickly with fewer personnel due to consequences of economic recession and a decline in volunteers. And fire trucks don’t just magically appear; the trucks cost money.


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Last year the officers of the College-Monroe Township Fire Department asked the trustees of the two townships to reconvene a Long-Range Planning Committee that met in previous years, and recently Gambier Mayor Kirk Emmert brought the village council up to date.

The fire department operates out of two stations: College Station, 451, and Monroe Station, 452. Fire Chief Bill Smith heads the department and is the only paid personnel.

While the department has acquired new equipment since the department officers first appealed to the trustees, sustained staffing and response to service areas continue to be a concern for the future, particularly in Monroe Township.

College Station firefighters include Kenyon College students. With the proximity of those campus volunteers, the station is able to respond swiftly. The Monroe Station doesn’t have that advantage; and, as is the case nationwide, recruiting community volunteers is difficult due to the hours of training required and conflicts with paid employment.

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Contact Rhonda Bletner

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