Changes to fire cov­er­age on the way

North Penn Life - - Opinion - By Bradley Sch­legel bschlegel@jour­nal­reg­is­ter. com

FLrH FRvHrDJH Ln HDW­fiHOG Town­ship is about to change.

6RRn, WhH HDW­fiHOG 9ROunWHHr DnG CROPDr 9ROunWHHr firH FRPSDnLHs wLOO bH pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for all calls in the town­ship, ac­cord­ing to Fire Mar­shal Mike Wal­dron.

He said dur­ing a re­cent board of com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing that the ad­just­ment will make the pub­lic safety pic­ture in the town­ship “a lot eas­ier to deal with.”

The Hill­town Town­ship Fire Com­pany — lo­cated in Bucks County — will continue to re­spond to in­ci­dents in Hat­field near the Mont­gomery County bor­der, ac­cord­ing to Wal­dron.

Hat­field Town­ship’s Pub­lic Safety Com­mit­tee had dis­cussed mak­ing this change for ap­prox­i­mately one year, ac­cord­ing to a Sept. 21 email from Wal­dron. It states that the re­sponse area change is just one part of a multi- faceted, proac­tive ap­proach the town­ship has taken to pro­vide the high­est level of fire pro­tec­tion pos­si­ble in the most fis­cally re­spon­si­ble man­ner pos­si­ble.

“It makes more sense on an ad­min­is­tra­tive level to hDvH D WRwn­shLS firH FRPSDny re­spon­si­ble for all ar­eas within the town­ship,” Wal­dron wrote.

ThH firH FhLHIs IrRP WhH HDW­fiHOG, CROPDr DnG HLOO­town com­pa­nies were in­volved in the de­ci­sion, ac­cord­ing to Wal­dron.

A de­lay in the calls from the Mont­gomery County Dis­patch to the Hill­town Fire Com­pany played a role in the ad­just­ment, ac­cord­ing to Terry O’Donnell, chief of WhH HDW­fiHOG 9ROunWHHr FLrH Com­pany.

He said that un­der the nHw DOLJnPHnW, firH SrRWHF­tion should be im­proved be­cause the ra­dio de­lay across county lines will be elim­i­nated.

Wal­dron said at the meet­ing that the mea­sure will lead to an in­crease in pro­tec­tion for town­ship res­i­dents.

Cur­rently, the Hill­town com­pany’s pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity in­cludes por­tions of Bethlehem Pike, Orvilla ooad and Line Lex­ing­ton ooad, as well as the In­de­pen­dence Way and Bent ooad neigh­bor­hoods of HDW­fiHOG, DOO RI whLFh DrH lo­cated in close prox­im­ity WR LWs firH sWDWLRn Rn HLOO­town Pike, ac­cord­ing to Wal­dron.

In the same email, the fire mar­shal cited in­stances of a de­lay in dis­patch­ing of an emer­gency ser­vice provider. He said those rea­sons in­cluded in­con­sis­tent rout­ing of mo­bile phone calls to 911, dif­fer­ent dis­patch ca­pa­bil­i­ties of Bucks and Mont­gomery coun­ties and com­muters un­fa­mil­iar with the area when call­ing 911.

“These is­sues in no way re­flect neg­a­tively on any fire com­pany or their abil­ity to pro­vide ser­vice to the pub­lic,” Wal­dron wrote.

At the Sept. 10 meet­ing, WhH HDW­fiHOG FRPPLssLRnHrs agreed to send the pro­posal to Mont­gomery County of­fiFLDOs.

Ac­cord­ing to Wal­dron, the re­sponse area changes may be im­ple­mented by the end of the year, de­pend­ing on when the town­ship sub­mits them to Mont­gomery County and how quickly the changes can be made in the county’s 911 com­puter sys­tem.

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