AMANDA TOWNSHIP, OH (WCMH) — It’s a small township fire department that covers 65 square miles. Amanda Township Fire has been run for decades by volunteer firefighters.
That’s going to change this Thursday thanks to a tax levy passed in November.
The fire station opened in 1906, covering two townships and a village. Since its inception, it has been staffed entirely by volunteers. For the first time, those firefighters will start getting paid this week.
“For 2017 we were dispatched 513 times. Somewhere around 85% of those were for medical emergencies about 50% of those we were not able to respond to with a full EMS crew to handle the call,” said Captain Robert Mango.
Around 10 active volunteers respond to emergencies. Captain Mango says that’s not nearly enough to respond to the number of calls.
“There’s times where there’s just nobody around to take that call and when that happens now they have to dispatch the next closest fire department,” said Mango.
The next closest fire department is six miles away.
“For many years the volunteer model has been very successful. Not just here, but across the country, that’s changed in the last several years. The continuing education requirements the state puts on us for our certifications, the need for two income households doesn’t allow that person to be freed up so much to take volunteer runs,” said Captain Mango.
That changes this week, starting with two firefighters that will be put on paid duty.
“We want to thank the voters of Amanda Township for passing this levy. It’s going to mean good things for them. It’s undoubtedly going to make this community safer in the long run. When somebody calls 911, provided we’re not tied up on another call, you’ll see guys arrive 9 minutes quicker than you would before,” said Captain Mango.
Photos line the hallway at the station, each tellingl their own story.
“The photos that you see out here document the history of Amanda Township fire. On Thursday, we’ll have another photo that we’ll need to hang up. Because Thursday [is] definitely a big day in our department’s history,” said Captain Mango.