The leaders of Stafford County and its three core cities – Stafford, St. John and Macksville – signed an agreement today that will provide better fire protection for county residents at a decreased cost for everybody.
Before this agreement the county had one lone pumper truck that was housed at the joint fire station in St. John. The problem with having only one centrally located truck is the response time to any structure fire in the eastern or western parts of the county would be very lengthy.
This problem could be addressed by buying two more of these trucks. One could be housed at the fire station in Macksville and the other housed at the fire station in Stafford. There were two problems with that approach.
First, these trucks are extremely expensive to purchase and maintain – even if you buy a used one. And, second is the fire stations in both of these cities have no room for an additional truck.
So, this was the fire protection problem the county faced, but the cities also faced problems with fire protection costs.
A little over four years ago the county landed two substantial fire protection grants. One of the grants was used to buy a breathing air system including air packs and a fill station to re-fill the air pack bottles. The second grant was used to buy firefighter coats/pants/boots – also known as “turn-out gear.”
Since the county’s firefighters are the city’s firefighters – and vice versa – everything has been shared. But, the question had never been answered as to whom would pick up the cost of these items when they needed replaced. Hoping to hit another grant for the same items is unlikely.
The answer to these problems was, “We should expand the sharing of our resources.”
Here’s what was done.
The county agreed to shoulder the ongoing costs of the air pack system and the turn-out gear. And, the cities agreed to respond within a north/south corridor county wide with their pumper trucks.
One additional thing was done. The city of Stafford has a back-up pumper truck that is subpar to the county’s truck. Instead of trying to sell the truck, the county is letting the City of Stafford use the truck as their backup pumper. There is a military truck type agreement whereby the truck’s ownership will remain with the county, but the maintenance will be shouldered by the City of Stafford.
Be sure and thank your governmental leaders for improving and reducing the cost of fire protection through partnership. This sharing of resources is a great example for other communities in our nation to follow.