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Proposed regional fire company for Red Lion, Felton and Windsor has a name

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch
A work van parked in the driveway of a home on Chatham Ln in Windsor Township caught fire, Tuesday Jan. 16, 2018, which then extended to the home. John A. Pavoncello photo

Alliance Fire and Rescue Services Inc. will be the name of a soon-to-be merged fire company with stations in Red Lion, Felton and Windsor boroughs.

Members of the Leo Independent Fire Engine Co. No. 1 in Red Lion, Laurel Fire Co. No. 1 in Windsor borough and Union Volunteer Fire Co. in Felton will vote in early November on whether to officially merge the companies, and the expectation is that the vote will be in favor of the move, according to a news release from the three companies.

"We feel that we have addressed all concerns, and we think that the enthusiasm is to progress toward the merger," said Chief Scott Gingrich from the Felton fire company.

The new name was submitted by a firefighter as part of a naming contest among the three fire companies' membership, Gingrich said Tuesday, Oct. 29.

Goals: All three fire stations will remain open, and no change in service is expected to arise from the merger, according to the news release.

The three companies provide services to Felton, Red Lion and Windsor boroughs and Windsor, Chanceford and North Hopewell townships.

By merging, the companies' goal is to better leverage their fundraising events, prevent volunteers from experiencing burnout and increase recruitment, according to the news release.

The companies are each 100% volunteer, and there's no plan, as of yet, to hire any paid staff once the new company is established, Gingrich said.

Merger talks have been going on for about 18 months, according to the news release.

Gingrich said he isn't sure how many firefighters there are among the three departments.

Statewide shortage: The pending merger comes amid a crisis-level shortage of emergency service volunteers across the state.

Pennsylvania's volunteer firefighter ranks have decreased from about 300,000 volunteers in the 1970s to about 38,000 in 2018, according to a state legislative report released in 2018.

Waning recruitment and retention of volunteers as well as limitations on how fire companies are allowed to use relief funds are among several contributing factors cited in the report.

More than 90% of Pennsylvania's 2,462 fire companies are volunteer companies, according to the report.

Other regional fire departments and fire companies in York County include York Area United Fire and Rescue, Northern York County Fire Rescue and Nashville Volunteer Fire Co.

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