NEW CONCORD — Village Council has endorsed a strategy that officials believe will enable the New Concord Fire Department to continue offering quality service in the face of increased demand for their firefighter and paramedic expertise.
Well regarded in the region as a premier provider of fire and emergency medical protection, the department currently is staffed by volunteers.
Council and the administration are considering changing it into a “combination” department in which some personnel would fill paid positions in a force augmented by volunteers.
The exact makeup of the department and the amount of money needed to fund it had not been determined at the time of a special council meeting on Monday.
Council will be furnished with those figures during the regular August meeting, which has been changed to Monday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m.
Over the years, the New Concord Fire Department has been blessed with plenty of dedicated volunteers, Mayor Greg Adams said.
But, with upwards of 1,000 calls per year, those volunteers are being run into the ground, he said. The change will enable the department to continue providing the high level of service that residents have come to expect.
Village officials would like to implement the change in three steps, a preliminary stage that would begin around Sept. 1 and continue through the end of the year; an intermediate step after the beginning of the year until the final step. The ultimate step would unfold after the matter is put to the electorate to decide whether the department should continue its evolution.
Adams, safety committee Chairman Brett Essex and Fire Chief Brent Gates said those who have volunteered will continue to be honored, respected and encouraged to serve and new volunteers will be welcomed.
Firefighter and emergency medical technician training will continue to be provided, paid for by the village. However, the village will expect a commitment from the trainees in return.