Fire department looking for options for station reviews

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The Jacksonville Fire Department has begun the process of inspecting its decades-old stations.

The ministry requested an assessment of its two stations at Monday’s public protection committee meeting. The assessments are part of a strategic plan created by the department in 2017.

Each of the two stations will receive a needs assessment and a risk assessment. Jacksonville Fire Chief Doug Sills made the request because of the age of the buildings, which were constructed in the 60s and 70s. The assessments will also help the department be ready to apply for grants if they become available, he said.


“We’re not looking to build any stations or do any renovations at this time,” Sills said. “It’s just a study to see where we are and come up with a possible game plan moving forward.”

Alderman Mike Bartlett, who chairs the public protection committee, said whoever carried out the inspection would look at things like storage security, equipment maintenance and accommodations, which he said could be expanded to accommodate male and female firefighters. The living quarters were built when the department was predominantly made up of men.

Bartlett said he would meet with Mayor Andy Ezard and City Clerk Skip Bradshaw to discuss the cost of the assessments and potential sources of funding for them. Once this is determined, he will present the idea to the rest of the city council.

The process is expected to take some time, and Barlett said he would be surprised if he was ready for the next board meeting.

“It’s just about putting things in place so we can do it and be ready,” he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the committee approved the fire department’s request to replace the department’s rescue unit. The department will order it this year, but it would be included in the city’s 2023 budget.


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