West Chester Township benefits from a full-time professional Fire Department, with a part-time complement, providing fire suppression and emergency medical services while focusing on prevention and education in the community. The Township is served from five (5) fully operational fire stations located throughout the community to provide efficient response times to all residents of the community.
The West Chester Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Rick Prinz, is organized into five bureaus, each with specific responsibilities designed to serve the community efficiently:
• Administrative Bureau – Responsible for the administration of the department including staffing and budgeting;
• Operations Bureau – Responsible for day-to-day operations of the department, equipment and the fire stations;
• Risk Management Bureau – Responsible for advanced training of firefighters/EMTs;
• Emergency Medical Services – Responsible for the operations related to emergency medical response;
• Loss Prevention – Responsible for enforcement of the fire code and promoting fire prevention and safety throughout the community with special events and classes.
Our fire department impacts the cost of living for Township residents by continuing to operate effectively under a levy last approved by voters in 2006! The unrealized expense of an additional fire station in the community and the judicious use of levy funds to extend levy life have limited burden to taxpayers. West Chester continues to monitor the demand for a sixth, or a repurposed, fire station.
The Fire and EMS Funds’ proposed budgeted expenses for 2019 are $16.9 million, however; actual expenses will probably come in slightly over 2018 which was $12.9M. The Township is currently underway to replace Fire Station 73 located on Duff Dr. The existing station will be torn down and replaced with a new state-of-the-art station costing approximately $3.5 million. The station cost is not included in the 2019 budget because it will be paid for out of the 747 TIF. Completion is scheduled for late 2020 / early 2021.
Other significant expenditures for the 2019 Fire & EMS Funds include:
• $1,500,000 technology upgrade to public safety system (the total cost will be shared by Police, Fire and EMS);
• $650,000 to replace a 2005 Sutphen Pumper Fire Truck;
• $55,000 to purchase replacement Turnout Gear for Firefighters;
• $50,000 to replace a 2007 Expedition; and
• $52,200 to purchase fire station security system to provide electronic entry and monitoring.
Similar to Police, the Fire and EMS Funds are primarily impacted by personnel costs, accounting for 75.0% of the budget which includes the Fire Fund’s share of Emergency Communications Dispatch costs.
The Fire Department responded to 6,690 calls for service in 2018 and out of nearly $3 billion of property valuation in West Chester, property loss was only $790,493! The breakdown of calls for service and Fire Prevention/Code Enforcement follow:
• 4,607 EMS calls (1% decrease from 2017)
• 2,083 Fire calls (2.28% increase from 2017)
• 4,404 fire safety inspections
• 856 re-inspections
• 470 plan reviews for fire safety
The West Chester Fire Department reaches nearly 9,000 residents annually through programs designed to teach fire prevention, safety and awareness. Firefighters visit schools, daycare centers, senior housing complexes and other local establishments providing residents with the tools they require to prevent fires and accidents.
Programs available to the public include:
• Basic fire extinguisher training
• CPR/First Aid Classes. Classes are offered only at West Chester Fire Headquarters.
• Tours of Stations
• Fire escape instruction using a fire safety house
• Home fire dangers
• Severe weather training
To learn more about these programs and/or schedule a program, call (513) 777-1133.
Our West Chester Fire Department plays a key role in the level of public safety services enjoyed by the residents and businesses of West Chester, and in the community’s standing as one of “America’s Best Places to Live.” The quick response of a well-trained professional fire department attributes to lower insurance rates for those who live and operate businesses in West Chester and, more importantly, provides the critical, first-line emergency medical response that saves lives.