According to Fire Chief Timothy Taylor, the division underwent a comprehensive review of the resources available— including fire apparatus, medical transport units, and staff—and compared those resources against the needs, documented in incident reports and risk data and current development trends. The restructuring is aimed at ensuring that the fire department is able to improve response time, better utilize the current resources available, and reduce costs and extend the current funding available.
“Like all communities, Mifflin Township and Gahanna does not stay static,” said Taylor. “Because we grow and demographics shift, the needs of the community change. These planned changes help us to better direct our resources and keep us operating efficiently, as well as ‘live within our means’.”
According to the department’s statistics, 80 percent of calls are EMS related. Last year, the district responded to more than 6,239 calls for emergency medical service and 1,624 calls for fire protection service, for a total of 7,863 calls for assistance.
In an effort to improve operational efficiency, the township is relocating staffing and equipment, and has approved the following changes:
- staff is being added to station 132 on Agler Road so that the station can fully staff the engine and medical transport unit already assigned. Previously, when a run was taken on the medical transport unit the engine was unavailable for runs.
- a combination engine/rescue vehicle is replacing an engine at station 134 on McCutcheon Road, which is expected to improve rescue, fire suppression operations and response times due to better access to freeway, and is more centralized to the entire district.
- the engine from station 134 is moving to station 133 on Beecher Road, to offset the loss of the engine/rescue vehicle to maintain fire protection coverage and EMS response for the densely-populated residential and commercial district, and
- an engine at station 131 will be taken out of service, with plans to add a medic in 2015. The ladder truck, which also has firefighting capability, will remain in service at station 131
“All fire stations will have a firefighting vehicle and an EMS vehicle as well,” said Taylor. “The plan more evenly distributes staff and apparatus across the entire township response district, which is divided geographically by the Big Walnut Creek, Clark State Rd., and U.S. I-270 into four distinct sections: the eastern, central, western and southern.”
The plan eliminates cross staffing of station 132 and decreases the reliance on mutual aid companies, particularly in the unincorporated portion of the township and the west side of Gahanna, as well as balances activity level among all fire stations. Mutual aid agreements are agreements between adjoining districts to provide emergency assistance in the form of personnel, equipment, materials, and other associated services. When mutual aid companies respond to a call for service, Mifflin Township residents were being billed for this service by the outside agencies.
“This will improve our operational efficiency, provide stability for our employees, as well as avert a need to ask our residents for additional funding in the near future,” said Taylor. “It is the best plan for the community, and we are confident it will address our needs through the end of this decade.”
Mifflin Township has a population of 35,710 making it the second-most populated township in the Columbus area and 17th-largest of Ohio’s 1,308 townships. It includes the city of Gahanna and unincorporated township area in northeast Franklin County.
Mifflin Township has a fire department that serves the city of Gahanna and unincorporated township areas. The division has four fire stations, and employs 74 full time firefighter/paramedics, six full or part-time fire prevention officers and 23 full or part-time dispatchers. With a response time of less than four minutes, the Mifflin Township Division of Fire is one of the busiest fire departments in Franklin County.
Mifflin Township has police officers who protect residents in the unincorporated township area, and a service department which oversees cemeteries and maintains township roads. Three elected trustees, including Trustees Richard Angelou, Lynn Stewart and Joseph Spanovich, comprise the Mifflin Township Board of Trustees, which decides issues of township policy and is responsible for all expenditures of township funds.