WEST FARMINGTON, Ohio (WKBN) – West Farmington residents will have quicker response times when there is a fire, now that the station is fully operational with firefighters working 24 hours a day.
Voters gave the okay this November to have firefighters work around the clock.
“Now our ambulances or any equipment can be out the door in less than a minute. We can start covering calls and not lean on our neighbors,” Chief Jon Bland said. “Now we can actually handle our stuff more effectively.”
He said it’s getting more and more difficult to find volunteer firefighters with available schedules.
Before, four or five people might be on call on any given day at the fire house. Occasionally, no one was available and calls had to be passed on to other stations.
That drastically reduced response time to Farmington’s 3,500 residents.
For several years, 24-hour staffing wasn’t possible even though the department introduced the idea two years ago.
“We were struggling covering calls,” Bland said. “We started talking about this real heavy about two years ago, but this plan has been something for almost 15 years.”
The department realized equipment needed to be replaced very soon. The average age of Farmington’s fire trucks was over 40 years old.
They went to voters, who supported the idea of spending almost $4 million on new equipment.
“Once we conquered that and we had solid equipment, we were able to bring to the voters to pass the levy for a part-time staff program,” Bland said.
The levy passed last year generates $131,000 a year, enough to cover the cost of full-time staffing.
“We’ll have a paramedic and an EMT, both cross-trained as firefighters, around the clock and then we’ll supplement everything with our volunteers,” Bland said.
He said he’s thankful for the community’s support of the new program.
The department’s 24-hour coverage began on Sunday.