Our View: County needs to address fire study recommendations

Published 9:43 am Thursday, February 28, 2019

When it comes to local services few ring more important that our emergency responders.

The Clark County Fiscal Court needs to continue addressing the needs of the Clark County Fire Department, which include staffing, equipment and even expansion of stations into new areas of the county.

According to a recent study, the department filed 873 incident reports for calls to service in 2018. Nearly half, 47 percent, were to help EMS crews. Another 21 percent were for fires and 14a.5 percent were for hazardous conditions.

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Those figures show an increase in the volume of runs, and proves that the department serves more needs than exclusively fighting fires.

The study, which was prepared by the Bluegrass Area Development District at the county’s request suggested a time of growth for the department and provided recommendations for the period.

One of the key suggestions is adding two new stations — one along Boonesboro Road and a second along Lexington Road, possibly near Clintonville Road. Each station should then have at least one engine and three firefighters.

Adding these stations will address the needs of areas of the community that are seeing growth in residency, and are necessary to ensuring the optimal safety and response time for citizens who pay taxes for the vital services the county offers.

The study also recommended adding staff to meet National Fire Protection Association standards, which recommends 15 people to respond on a first alarm for a single family structure fire. On any given day, Clark County has seven firefighters on duty including a battalion chief, a captain and a lieutenant. The department also has more than two dozen volunteers who can respond or cover shifts.

One of the most notable recent events that signaled the need for a harder look at the department’s needs was the first at Stuff that burned for three days in June.

The department lacked some of the necessary equipment to tackle the fire as aggressively as needed, and that is just one example of why the county needs to take the recent recommendations seriously.

While no one really wants to ever need the services provided by our local emergency responder, the truth is, it could happen to any of us at any time.

Being prepared for the worst will be the best way to keep our community and our neighbors safe.