Lake Twp.: Citizen advisory fire department panel forming

Larry Limpf

New Editor

As of last week, 30 persons have expressed interest in participating on a citizen advisory committee being formed to provide guidance for the Lake Township Fire/EMS Department as it faces staffing and related issues.
Fire chief Barrett Dorner said he was waiting for the results of a survey on when potential committee members were available and planned to then schedule the panel’s first meeting.
The committee is expected to meet tentatively once or twice a month from late February through July.
Chief Dorner said the committee’s recommendations will be compiled into a report that will be shared with the community.
The purpose for the formation of the committee as stated on the department website is: “To bring community members, elected officials, and their fire department leaders together for face-to-face discussions to address the critical issue of fire/EMS department staffing.”
Voters last November rejected a levy request for an additional 4.2 mills in property taxes for fire/EMS operations.
Had it passed, the levy would have generated about $1.2 million annually and paid for the hiring of full-time personnel in the department.
But the levy fell by a wide margin, about 64 percent against to 36 percent for it.
Prior to the levy, the chief noted that staffing of “volunteer” departments is a problem across the country.
“Volunteer firefighters serve an important role in the operations of the Lake Township Fire Department. While we now refer to them as ‘paid-per-call’ members, as they are paid by the hour, the term ‘volunteer’ has long been used to refer to those firefighter/medical providers who respond from their homes when an emergency occurs,” he wrote, in a report of the department’s volunteer staffing. “In Lake Township, the State of Ohio, and the country as a whole, the number of volunteer firefighters is dwindling. Incident volume, on the other hand, is increasing. Your LTFD has seen a 72 percent increase in annual requests for help in the last eight years (2014-2021). While part-time staffing allows us to handle the majority of routine medical calls and, with the addition of Rescue 26, small fires, the one thing we need for more involved scenes is personnel.”


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