State Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to Hold Regional Listening Tours, Open to Public

State Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to Hold Regional Listening Tours, Open to Public

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service will be holding regional roundtable listening tours including one in Southeast Ohio.

These roundtable events will be held in various regions across the state and provide an opportunity for firefighters and community members to share information with members of the task force. The task force will then be responsible for making recommendations to improve the sustainability of the volunteer fire service in Ohio.

The Southeast region meeting is set for August 20, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Hamden Firefighters Community Facility. The address is 138 E. Railroad Street, Hamden, Ohio 45634.

The goal at these regional meetings is to solicit additional input from the volunteer fire department community regarding the issues and challenges that they are facing everyday throughout Ohio.

Ohio has 1,180 fire departments with approximately 70% of all fire service in the state provided by volunteers. These dedicated volunteer firefighters typically have full-time jobs but are called upon to assist in the event of an emergency. Historically, a volunteer fire department’s community response is most significantly impacted by staffing, training, and funding levels so they must have full support to protect their communities.

Earlier in the year, Gov. Mike DeWine assembled the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to study and make recommendations to improve volunteer fire service in Ohio. The Task Force consists of 25 members from around the state representing local volunteer fire departments, municipalities, and state agencies.

The Task Force’s recommendation report is due to the Governor by June 2023 – with a statewide listening tour, surveys, and extensive task force and subcommittee work between now and then. The initial focus of the task force is on four areas relating to volunteer firefighters: recruitment and retention, response and operations, financial resources, and training.

These meetings are free and open to the public. Visit the State Fire Marshal’s website at com.ohio.gov/fire to RSVP and learn more about the volunteer task force and its mission.