Jackson Township fire companies to merge

The two fire departments in Jackson Township have less than a month left until they officially merge.

Nashville Fire Co. Chief Brad Dunham said his company and the Lincoln Fire Co., both of which serve Jackson Township, will be consolidating.

The two are scheduled to officially merge  Oct. 1.

Nashville Fire Company in Jackson Township. Christopher Dornblaser photo.

Study: The chief said talks of the two joining forces started in 2006.

He said a feasibility study completed in 2008 noted critical issues between the companies, including capital funding, aging fleet of vehicles, recruitment retention issues and not keeping up with the growth and development rate of Jackson Township.

Additionally, there was a need for a second ambulance or a separate ambulance from Lincoln, Dunham said.

For a few years after the study, nothing happened. Then in 2015, the idea of merging the two was revisited, and by that point the ambulance service had split off from Lincoln, according to Dunham.

The fire companies voted on the merger, and while they have not officially merged, Dunham said the fire companies have been working out of the Nashville station for about two months.

“All of (Lincoln's) members on the fire side that were still responding to calls are still responding to calls here," he said.

Location: Dunham said Nashville's station is more centrally located within the township, and many of the Lincoln firefighters live closer to the Nashville station than the Lincoln one.

With that, it takes firefighters less time to get to the station and for them to get where they need to be.

“The people on the fire side coming out to the calls, they see it, they know, they understand why it’s better than it was before," Dunham said.

Additionally, Dunham said firefighters are getting to the scene quicker.

“With the rising costs, by consolidating the fleet, we have more manpower coming from one location, our response is quicker, and we’re going to be able to have newer, better equipment," he said.

All the Nashville fire officers will remain once the merger is official. However, Dunham said that could change.

An election for the fire department is planned in December, and new people could be voted in those positions.

Dunham said the township board is behind the merger, as are most of the people involved.

“Most of the people within the community that we’ve talked to seem to be in favor of it," he said.

Dunham said departments merging is nothing new and that it is happening throughout the country.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to what we need to do to provide a better service for the residents of the community," he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.