The Board of Directors for North Lincoln and Depoe Bay Fire Departments this week decided to get some strong consulting help from those who could make the two fire departments better together than continuing to go it alone in their individual coverage areas.
Acting North Lincoln Fire Chief Rob Dahlman told NewsLincolnCounty.com that the time has probably come to consolidate North Lincoln and Depoe Bay Fire Departments. But Chief Dahlman quickly adds that “We want to be smart about it, carefully evaluate the resources and the tax impacts to both fire districts.”
Chief Dahlman says there are many weeks where North Lincoln and Depoe Bay Fire Departments are calling on each other for help with large fires or horrendous traffic crashes. He said more and more they’re working together as if they were already one department – even though they’re not.
Chief Dahlman said both Lincoln City and Depoe Bay fire boards know there are many advantages to consolidating fire departments – not duplicating high salaried management workers and being better able to afford fire equipment along with fire engineers, tankers and brush rigs. Consolidating fire districts could also offer better training for volunteer, part-time and full time firefighters. And, as an added bonus, consolidation would help in targeting optimal spots around the north county to build new fire stations in the future which may bring down the cost of home and business owners’ fire insurance premiums.
Chief Dahlman says his board and the Depoe Bay Fire board will spend the next year or so helping a fire services consulting firm take a long hard look at North Lincoln County and Depoe Bay Fire Departments. Chief Dahlman says a consolidated department would enjoy economies of scale, better spaced fire halls, better training and probably more volunteers.
After consolidation, residents and businesses should see shorter response times for medical calls as well as traffic crashes, wildland fires, including businesses and private properties.
Chief Dahlman says the two fire boards will meet March 12th in Depoe Bay to begin getting a clearer picture about what improved levels of performance can be expected from the consolidation plan. And the boards will likely launch a call out to local residents to get them to go to the polls and reveal their opinion.
The consolidation of North Lincoln and Depoe Bay Fire may take more than one or two years. Chief Dahlman says they’re only in the planning stage at the moment.