CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) – Washington County commissioners are discussing putting different fire stations together under one department.
During the November 16th commission meeting, Washington County Fire Coordinator Justin Leach presented the idea of combining three volunteer fire departments.
Greenhead, Orange Hill, and Five Points.
Leach says even under the umbrella of Washington County fire services, each station will keep their individual fire chief.
“They’ll follow more of the structure that Washington County Fire Department does. I mean, it will all be the same. They’ll all work together, all train, same things. It’s going to be a more combined effort,” said Washington County Fire Coordinator Justin Leach.
Leach believes the county will get a lot more out of the fire departments and give the firefighters a better sense of community.
He even says it could lead to a stronger I.S.O. rating.
I.S.O. stands for ‘Insurance Services Office’ and is on a rating of ten to one with one being the best.
It reflects how prepared a community is for fires.
Commissioners seemed on board with the proposal until one fire chief talked about his issues with the plan.
“Every community has a rating, ok, one to ten, you don’t want to be a 10. Ok, we have a lot that are nines right now because we don’t have the coverage area. We don’t have the manpower to cover it,” said Country Oaks Volunteer Fire Chief Troy Cunningham.
Chief Cunningham says he believes combining these stations will cause Washington County to shut down smaller fire departments and might even cause more problems for citizens.
He asked for commissioners to do more research before making a decision.
County officials made the decision to combine Greenhead, Orange Hill, and Five Points.