Fire, EMS Needs Face Review
A study designed to help fire service personnel respond faster to Moore County residents is currently under way.
Moore County Public Safety officials say the Fire Service Evaluation and Emergency Services Master Plan will map out the manner in which county fire services will be delivered over the next two decades.
"The emphasis of this project is to assure that Moore County can provide emergency response capabilities to our county in a professional, reliable and cost-effective fashion," said county Fire Marshal Ken Skip-per. "Part of the assessment is to determine what is required to make this a reality."
Skipper said that Moore County has hired the Volunteer Fireman's Insurance Service to analyze the current and future system needs.
"Not only has this firm conducted a similar assessment in North Carolina, but throughout the United States as well," Skipper said. "Their understanding of the fire service delivery models throughout the state and the country will enable us to measure ourselves against comparable delivery systems and enhance effective performance while identifying areas that can improve. >
"In addition, the North Carolina State Fire Marshal's Office reports will be reviewed for improvements in the 18 fire and rescue departments contained in the Moore County area."
Skipper said that Emergency Medical Services and one volunteer rescue squad are also involved in the study.
"I hope the study can give us a good evaluation of where we stand in comparison to national standards, and that it will tell us what improvements we need to make in the future," he said.
Moore County Emergency Manager Scot Brooks said the county expects to get a 10- to 15-year growth plan.
The service went out to bid and received a response from four vendors, Brooks said, with VFIS the lowest.
Commissioner Nick Picerno said the study's objectives include a very important component: mapping.
"I'd like to point out that one of the major objectives of the fire service study includes making a GIS analysis of all fire district boundaries," he said. "Sixteen areas have been identified that could receive lower insurance ratings by relocation of current district lines. This should address that issue."
The creation of a single tax district will also be considered. County officials say a unified tax rate would remove the "money factor" when determining the best response plan for emergencies.
Additional items to be considered include the consolidation of departments into larger groups to allow better management and distribution of resources, and the formation of a strategic long-range plan for the future of the fire service.
The project also provides an opportunity for comments from the general public in regard to the emergency services they seek over the next decade and beyond. Public safety officials invite the public to visit the Moore County Government website and complete the survey, which consists of six questions involving the reader's opinion of current and future services from their district fire departments.
The survey is accessible at www.surveymonkey.com/s/97FPQ8T.
"We invite the public to look upon this community effort as a chance to openly discuss issues and challenges along with opportunities that need to be considered over the next 20 years," Skipper said.
>The deadline for completion of the survey is Feb. 15.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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