New Albany News

Monroe Township looks to improve response times with new substation

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Jersey Township residents and businesses served by the Monroe Township Fire Department are expected to get faster EMS response beginning early next year, after an EMS substation opens in a remodeled, ranch-style home.

Monroe Township recently bought the house at 2411 Beech Road NW in Jersey Township for $214,000. About another $50,000 will be spent to renovate the attached garage and to make other improvements, Fire Chief Dudley H. Wright said.

He said he expects the substation, which will be manned 24 hours a day, to be open sometime in February.

"We're excited about it," said Wright, adding that the house has all of the facilities needed for a 24-hour operation.

The garage must be renovated to make room for an ambulance and another vehicle, though.

Trustees from both Monroe and Jersey townships worked with the fire department, which has been seeking a substation location for more than a year. The house, which was in foreclosure, is in an unincorporated part of Jersey Township, across from the New Albany Health and Beauty Campus.

"Over the past 13 years, with the community's support, we have been able to improve service and response times dramatically from our headquarters' station in Johnstown," Monroe Township Trustee Troy Hendren said in a statement. "But no matter how quickly we respond, we cannot reduce the distance we have to travel. This new facility will allow us to continue that improvement from a secondary location at an extremely reasonable cost."

Jersey Township Trustee Jim Endsley said portions of his township pay for contracted services from the Monroe Township Fire Department through a levy. The opening of the substation will be a great benefit, Endlsley said.

He also agreed with other officials that although this isn't a long-term solution for fire-related services in that section of Jersey Township, it will provide time for officials to research potential sites for a substation to someday be built and what such an endeavor might cost.

"Our budget is limited, and, as a result, we have had to be creative in finding a way to locate resources in something less expensive than a traditional fire station, which usually costs between 1 and 3 million dollars," Dudley said of the EMS substation.

In addition, once a decision is made to built a fire station, the renovated house could be resold as a residential home to recoup most -- if not all -- money spent on it, he said.

Money to buy the house and for the renovations come from Monroe Township's fire/EMS contract with Jersey Township and from Monroe Township's EMS billing revenue.

The fire department has 13 full-time firefighters and about 20 volunteers.

Wright said volunteers, who are well-trained, would staff the EMS substation.

The department had about 2,000 calls for service last year. The Jersey Township area averages up to two calls a day, officials said.

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