Effingham County & The City of Springfield to Merge Fire Departments

Effingham County & The City of Springfield to Merge Fire Departments (Image 1)

Effingham County and the City of Springfield could soon be merging their fire departments.

And if you live there, I’m sure you’re wondering what that means for you and the fire services in your area…

And according to Harold “Skip” Starling, the Director of the National Fire Services Office, if all goes as planned the merger will lead to better fire fighting and lower insurances rates.

“By the two of them coming together, you make a larger team–it’s all about team work and public safety work and fire work,” said Harold “Skip “ Starling.

He’s working on consolidating Effingham County and the City of Springfield to make their operations more efficient.

“In the past, the problem is that you have two different agencies–that means you have two different district lines, two different chiefs that you have two different procedures as far as how they operate,” Starling said.

But what will that mean for the people who live here?—More manpower…

 “Fire trucks unfortunately can’t put out fires, it takes people and the more consolidation we get-the larger groups, the better job you do at putting the fire out and getting to the emergency.”

…and lower insurance rates!

Insurance rates are determined by the Insurance Service Office (or I-S-O.) The scale goes from 1-10. (One being the best, and Ten being the worst.)

Effingham County has a score of 4, while the City of Springfield has a score of 6.

 “The lower the score, kind of like golf, the lower the score, the better you’re doing. The four, it helps by lowering the insurance costs. And so by the two of them merging, Springfield will have the chance to improve their ISO score,” Starling told News 3.

Some people may wonder if this idea has worked successfully anywhere else—and Starling assured News 3 that it has…

 “I’ve seen it over and over again across the united states and I think the residents will find that it’s an extremely good program,” said Starling.

Effingham County Administrator, Toss Allen, says the idea has already been approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The Springfield City Council votes next Tuesday.

If Springfield approves the vote, the merger will go into affect July 1, 2015.

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