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York County's newest fire service now on air: 'Station 77-1 and Station 77-2 in service ...'

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Alliance Fire and Rescue Services has been operating as a newly merged fire company for nearly three months.

But until Wednesday night, the company was still communicating with York County 911 under the two station numbers attached to the formerly independent companies: Station 43 for Felton and Station 34 for Red Lion.

Alliance Fire and Rescue Services Deputy Chief Ben Rodkey poses, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, with the newly emblemed Truck 77, at the Red Lion station. Alliance is the result of the merger of the former Red Lion and Felton borough fire companies. The Red Lion station serves as the new company's main station. Bill Kalina photo

"The merged companies of Red Lion and Felton have created Alliance Fire and Rescue Services, and we would like to place Station 77-1 and Station 77-2 in service," said Alliance Fire Chief Scott Gingrich on the radio Wednesday to 911 dispatchers.

In a video of the radio call posted to the Alliance Facebook page, members of the company cheered after a 911 dispatcher replied on the radio and said stations 77-1 and 77-2 were officially in service.

Before Wednesday, when a call came in for fire service in Alliance's service area, the new company's members had to coordinate via phone or text to know which station would be responding.

That won't be an issue anymore, Gingrich said Thursday.

The chief also said he wanted to thank the communities served by the former Felton and Red Lion fire companies for supporting the companies in the merger.

"It’s what’s needed in our fire service right now to keep us around for the future," he said.

Alliance Fire and Rescue Services Deputy Chief Ben Rodkey poses, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, with the newly emblemed Truck 77, at the Red Lion station. Alliance is the result of the merger of the former Red Lion and Felton borough fire companies. The Red Lion station serves as the new company's main station. Bill Kalina photo

The merger was announced in November 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.

Alliance Fire and Rescue Services provide services to a roughly 19.5-square-mile area covering six municipalities, including Felton and Red Lion boroughs as well as Chanceford, North Hopewell, Windsor and York townships.

Windsor borough's Laurel Fire Co. was involved in the merger talks early on, but its membership voted late last year against joining the new company.

York County has at least three other regional fire services covering Springettsbury, Spring Garden, Manchester and Jackson townships and Franklintown and Dillsburg boroughs.

More:Windsor borough fire company opts out of merger with Red Lion, Felton

More:VIDEO: Fire departments announce merger