Lake Township Fire Department 2

File. Lake Township Fire Department.

MILLBURY — Lake Township, Rossford and Northwood are partnering for a $24,000 study on combining EMS and fire services.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Lake Township Trustees approved a resolution paying $6,400 toward an Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association fire district feasibility study. The study, which could take up to two years to complete, will look at the concept and possible operation of a joint fire and EMS district.

“It’s not going to be a quick fix, but we’ve got to start somewhere,” said Police Chief Mark Hummer.

He and Fire Chief Bruce Moritz have been meeting with Rossford and Northwood leaders, looking into ways to meet increasing demands now and in the future, Hummer said.

Moritz said EMS runs are increasing at a staggering rate. The department averages three runs a day, but will be near four at the end of the year.

However, he said some daily spikes have been huge.

On Thanksgiving Day, there were 14 runs; the Wednesday before there were 12.

“The run volume is not going down,” Moritz said. “We have to do something different.”

The department is on pace to have 1,500 runs in 2021 and is 100 above where they were this time last year, he said.

Hummer said that he and Moritz have been discussing solutions with other area officials.

“One thing that we think we should study is perhaps a regional EMS and fire district, the possibility of it, and the feasibility of it and the sustainability of it,” Hummer said.

Lake Township, as the lead agency, will pay $100 more than the cities, he said. Northwood and Rossford will kick in funding for the study, along with the Wood County Port Authority, which is contributing $5,000, Hummer said.

“They realize this northern (Ohio) 795 corridor — it’s going to grow. It’s growing as we speak,” he said.

The study will be comprehensive, Hummer said.

“They will talk to all local governments involved … Walbridge and Millbury, which are in Lake Township, which are served by our fire department,” he said.

Also studied will be facilities, equipment, geography, long-term goals, response time, personnel, operations and how it’s going to be funded.

EMS will be the priority, but the plan will encompass fire and possibly police down the road, Hummer said.

“They will create a study and a plan that first the elected officials will have to agree to proceed with, and then we’ll go to the voters ultimately, to decide if they want to be part of a regional district or not.

“There’s a lot of moving parts to this,” he said. “But, we really need to step out of the box and start moving forward in looking at our options.”

Even if the district is not approved, the study will give the local departments a baseline and a “grade card” about their EMS and fire operations, Hummer said.

In addition to the high number of runs, area departments are also trying to hire the same personnel, Moritz said.

He also said that Lake Township has become “a feeding system” with the part-time staff. The township hires them and trains them, then they leave for full-time jobs with the city of Oregon, Perrysburg Township and Toledo.

“That at least tells me we’ve got good people here but we’ve also got to keep our good people,” he said.

After the meeting, Moritz said the two-year timeline for the study is realistic and the departments will carry on.

“We’re handling it, but we’ve got to look at what we can do in the future,” Moritz said. “We’ve got to reinvent ourselves here.”

Also at the meeting and the Nov. 16 meeting, the trustees:

• Discussed requesting traffic studies to possibly get a four-way stop sign at Bradner and Walbidge roads and a 35-mph speed limit on Bradner Road from Ohio 51 to Route 579.

• Purchased an Armor Express Vengeance Shield from Traffic Stop Uniform Supply, Bowling Green, for $3,995.

• Accepted the resignation of Brock Abke from the road department.

• Accepted the resignation of administrative assistant Roxane Roth.

• Approved paying the expenses for Trustee-elect Lorie Davis to attend the OTA Winter Conference and Trade Show Jan. 26-28 in Columbus.

• Voted to pay $2,455 to ODB Inc., Richmond, Virginia, for a clutch and PTO kit with hardware for the leaf vac.

• Authorized $3,909 to Towers Armory LLC, Oregon, for ammunition for training and duty usage for the police department.

• Hired Rebecca Gump as a part-time EMS employee at $16.31 per hour.

• Joined the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments membership for 2022 for $2,731.

• Heard October department reports. Police made 10 arrests and issued 18 citations. The fire department had 125 runs. There were 13 burials at the cemetery. Zoning issued two permits and collected $200.

• Went into an hour executive session to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.