Some area officials want to explore the potential for consolidating and combining fire departments in Erie County.
Huron city councilman Sam Artino spearheaded a brief discussion Thursday morning during an Erie County commission meeting about looking into ways to save money without sacrificing fire-related services.
All three Perkins Township residents attended the meeting and backed Artino's suggestion.
“A group needs to be put together to come up with an effective and efficient service to our constituents and our citizens,” Artino told all three county commissioners. “Local governments are (financially) struggling. I think we are at a point at looking at regional fire or EMS and the sharing of equipment.”
All three Erie County commissioners also seemingly supported the effort but recommended Artino discuss it further with area fire chiefs, including those serving Sandusky, Perkins Township, Huron and Margaretta Township.
“This would be a huge step for our community,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said. “I think it’s the right step. It’s what every community should be looking at.”
A potential regional fire department would piggyback off a countywide dispatching system, in which 911 communicators located in one centralized hub, inside the Erie County Sheriff's Office, field emergency calls from all across Erie County. The dispatchers then route the call to the right department.
Earlier this week, new Sandusky fire Chief Dave Degnan also voiced support for a deeper look how area departments might be able to share resources and equipment to lowerr costs for area taxpayers.
“It’s definitely a good idea to explore regionalism with other departments,” Degnan previously told the Register. “We have a ladder truck in the city of Sandusky. There is also a ladder truck in Huron and Perkins Township. Sure, (each department) could all be using each ladder truck at the same time. But is it a possibility to explore if we can share other equipment that costs a lot of money? Maybe we can help each other out if one of the department’s doesn’t have enough money for something."