Fire Factor: Part One

Warren County Judge-Executive, Mike Buchanon said the county’s population has grown more than 20 percent in the 13 years he’s been in office but has the county’s volunteer fire protection kept up with that population explosion or are county residents at risk?

“With this growth, we’re having more responses. So during the daytime with those working having to get off work, or those that are sleeping due to working 3rd shift, we’re struggling. We’re hoping that we can recruit more and retain those,” said Craig Peay, Warren County Fire Coordinator.

“We all worry about ‘what takes so long?’ We have those issues of nobody’s home and somebody on a cell phone calls and we get the phone call finally. That does take a little time. Thank God there’s nobody in the house when that happens but the quicker we get the phone call, the faster we can get the personnel and apparatus there to take care of it,” Peay said.

When asked if homeowners should be concerned about fire protection in Warren County, Peay said, “I believe no one should be concerned. We’re 24/7; we have the sufficient manpower and apparatus to do it.”

Independent Insurance agent, Tommy Adams agrees.

“Fifteen years or so ago, when I was first in the business, the number of total fire losses we would see in a year are many more than what we’re seeing today and I’d have to say part of that is the volunteer fire departments we have in place,” Adams said.

Buchanon said the volunteer fire departments save resident’s money, even if they never have to come to your house.

“If your insurance premiums would ordinarily be, say $1,500 a year, with a 48 percent savings, your insurance is cut to maybe $750 to $760-a-year and that’s a huge savings,” Buchanon said.

But what good are the savings if homes have sprung up all over the place but fire protection hasn’t?

The Plano community has exploded in recent years, to the point where it now has more residents than the city of Scottsville but what about its fire protection?

“So if they have a house fire that they’re called about, the Plano Fire Department responds, as well as twp additional fire departments for automatic aid. That gets the manpower and necessary apparatus there available, including water,” Peay said.

Peay also said the county plans to build three new volunteer fire stations to compensate for the recent growth.

“ ... One between Woodburn and Plano, on Three Springs Road. They’re gonna combine fire departments and work out of the same building. One in the Gott area, between Kelly Road and Loving Road, to help serve the area there and then one in Richardsville, on Highway 185, down by Highway 1320, to give the area toward Shanty Hollow Lake more area,” Peay said.

Warren County may have enough volunteer firefighters but they don’t have many first responders. These are firefighters trained to provide medical help if they arrive at a scene before an ambulance.

Of the 1,845 calls Warren County volunteer firefighters answered last year, only 268 or 15 percent were for structure fires. Most of their calls, 27 percent were for emergency medical services with injury accidents accounting for another 19 percent.

The Medical Center is now partnering with Warren County to educate more volunteers.

“ ... Trying to get firefighters cross-trained more into the first responders and hopefully we can bring people into the community that would want to be a first responder to the fire department that can help the community, maybe a retiree,” Peay said.

We mentioned there would soon be three new sub-stations built in Warren County but how much will they improve fire protection in Warren County and just how is that determined? We’ll answer those questions tomorrow night, Wednesday, Jan. 3, at six and ten, in part two of Fire Factor.

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