Hempfield takes first step in creating 1 fire department
Hempfield officials are taking initial steps toward implementing a single reporting number for 12 fire stations — a move that could help improve results in an upcoming review.
Supervisors this week voted unanimously to move forward with an application that would make the stations fall under one department in the township’s Bureau of Fire.
“One reporting number means when multiple companies show up for a scene, the lead company will do the report and it will all go through the Hempfield Bureau of fire as a report, not individual stations filing a report,” said township Manager Jason Winters.
Each station now has a fire chief who reports to the Bureau of Fire during monthly meetings. Under this structure, the township has 12 reporting numbers that are used for reviews by New Jersey-based Insurance Services Offices Inc., or ISO. The ISO rating has a direct correlation with homeowner insurance rates.
Company officials will look at primary service areas rather than municipal boundaries starting this year, meaning if a station does not have enough manpower for an incident in its coverage zone, it can receive a bad score. In the past, aid from surrounding stations was taken into consideration.
Winters was unable to provide a timeline for the application process but said it requires approval from the state and Westmoreland County 911, which would have to change the township’s identifying numbers in their system.
About two months ago, the township was granted a six-month extension ahead of the upcoming review. In that time, officials have discussed changing the structure of the fire departments by implementing one fire chief and splitting the stations into three zones.
During the June 19 meeting, supervisors will discuss in-depth issues within the fire department starting at 6 p.m.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .