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New Gilbert fire and rescue department activates July 1

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By Linda Murken, Chairperson, Board of Directors
Gilbert/Franklin Twp. Fire and Emergency Response Agency

(June 27, 2011 - 9 a.m.) Effective July 1, fire and rescue services for the City of Gilbert and Franklin Township will be provided by a new agency, the Gilbert/Franklin Township Fire and Emergency Response Agency rather than the Westory Fire Agency. What will this mean for you?

What will change: The agency will be governed by a new Board of Directors. Previously the Westory Board was responsible for fire protection and emergency response for Gilbert and Franklin Township plus Kelley and Washington Township, and was made up of representatives from all four of these entities. Last fall, the Gilbert City Council and Franklin Township trustees, recognizing that the Gilbert and Kelley Fire Stations operate independently and that the character and needs of the area served have changed significantly since Westory was created back in the 1970s , voted to withdraw from Westory and create a new agency to be responsible for protecting Gilbert and Franklin Township.

 A Board of Directors composed of two representatives for the City of Gilbert (Troy Buchman and Joe Loonan, Sr.) and three representatives of Franklin Township (Lindsay Ellingson, Art Fleener and Linda Murken) will assume formal responsibility for the new agency on July 1. This Board will be able to concentrate on serving a smaller, more cohesive fire district and to utilize the funding received from the City of Gilbert and Franklin Township more effectively.

By the way, we do realize that the official title of the agency is pretty long, so have decided on an operational title of Gilbert/Franklin Fire and Rescue.

What will stay the same: The residents of Gilbert and Franklin Township will continue to receive fire protection and emergency services from the Fire Station at 303 First St., Gilbert. The firefighters and emergency responders will be the same people who have always served us.

We currently have 20 active volunteers. The four familiar red trucks (fire engine, water tender, EMS rescue vehicle and brush fire truck) will be the same; decals are being updated to reflect the new name and service area. The vehicles can also be recognized by their vehicle numbers, which all end in 5.

And as with all fire agencies, Gilbert/Franklin Fire and Rescue will continue to have agreements to assist other fire agencies in the county and to be assisted by them (a concept referred to as “mutual aid”).
At its meeting on June 20, the Board appointed Don Adams as Fire Chief. Adams has served as a volunteer firefighter for 35 years and most recently served as Gilbert Chief for the Westory Fire Agency.

The Board holds its meetings at the Gilbert Fire Station at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are scheduled for July 18, September 12, and December 5, 2011 and January 9, 2012. Your attendance is welcomed.

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