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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Borough of Pottstown Fire Department plans for consolidation of two fire companies
Fire department embraces national consolidation model to improve community service
POTTSTOWN, PA – November 15, 2022 – The Borough of Pottstown Fire Department is planning for the potential consolidation of two of its independent companies, Empire Hook and Ladder Fire Company and Goodwill Fire Steam Engine Company, into one cohesive entity under Goodwill Fire Company. The Fire Department’s mission is to “provide a fire safety environment for the community, to further respond to and mitigate both man-made and natural emergencies and disaster, to provide public education on fire prevention and safety, to integrate with other public safety agencies to ensure the highest quality of life for Borough residents.” The integration of these two companies will allow the Fire Department to maximize resources and improve emergency services for the community.
According to Fire Chief, Frank Hand, “This fire service consolidation does not include a decrease in personnel or career staff, has no impact on the insurance rating, represents no decrease in the daily operations, but instead an increase in efficiency. A consolidated fire service eliminates duplication of equipment and the competition for manpower. In addition, the firefighters will no longer need multiple insurance policies. We know it will be a time of transition, and we are working together to ensure we give every detail attention.”
The Borough of Pottstown Fire Department shares common priorities with fire departments across the nation, including striving to maintain increased National Standards, while simultaneously experiencing a shortage of volunteer firefighters. This consolidation will retain volunteers and career staff by maintaining resources and services from Empire Fire Company and Goodwill Fire Company, just under one entity. Residents can expect the same or an increased level of service with enhanced ability to cover major incidents.
The two companies currently operate out of the same fire station owned by Goodwill, and work closely together through a best practice policy of reciprocation with Empire’s volunteers. The consolidation will not change the best practice policy, in fact with the resources going to and coming from one entity it will be more efficient. It will reduce duplication of management, allow supplementary allocation of manpower, and save money through a reduction of redundant equipment. To effectuate the change, Borough funds currently provided to Empire are planned to be increased and reallocated to Goodwill in the first quarter of 2023. This will allow the consolidated Goodwill Fire Company to remain economically competitive in the face of rising costs while maintaining the current millage of the fire tax. Empire does not own a fire truck and therefore the Borough owned fire truck currently stationed at Empire will be reallocated to Goodwill. The Borough will continue to work with Empire to help them through the transition and to explore if it might serve the community in a different capacity going forward.
Borough Manager, Justin Keller, shares, “This is a step forward in advancing the Borough’s mission to provide responsive, innovative, and cost-effective services to its taxpayers with the additional benefit of improving the effectiveness and sustainability of fire services in the communities we serve. We look forward to a continuing dialogue with all the Borough’s fire service providers in an effort to enhance conditions for emergency responders and fire responses in our communities.”