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Copley pursuing new fire alerting system

12/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

Copley officials are considering an additional way of cooperating with neighboring communities Barberton and Norton through the purchase of a new fire station alerting system.

An automated alerting system would improve response times, township Fire Chief Mike Benson said at the Copley Board of Trustees meeting Dec. 4. A delay in notification would be eliminated, so agencies automatically called in to aid during emergencies would all be made aware of the need at the same time, he said.

Benson explained that currently, if a fire call comes into Copley, neighboring fire departments hear the call over the radio or are called on to assist by their dispatch center. Currently, it takes anywhere between 1 and 2 minutes for Barberton and Norton fire departments to hear they are needed on a call in Copley, said Benson.

The estimated cost of the system is $300,000, with each of the three communities responsible for 10 percent of that cost, or $10,000 each, he added.

If another community, such as New Franklin, decides to participate, each community’s contribution would decrease, though the total cost for the system is expected to stay the same, Benson said.

“The problem is, the worst fires and the most dangerous ones are at 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the morning, when people are asleep. And that delay of 2 minutes we can eliminate by using a fire station alerting system. The dispatch center can actually send [the alert] to everybody right away,” said Benson.

Trustees approved applying for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund 90 percent of the cost of a new system.

Also at the meeting, trustees considered a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Barberton and Norton for the formation of the Wolf Creek Conservancy District. A draft of the document stated the three communities would share costs associated with forming the district, without providing a specific amount needed for additional consulting services, according to Trustee Helen Humphrys. Trustees discussed changing the MOU to indicate they would pay an additional $5,000 for the shared consulting, and they also considered instead approving a resolution of support for forming the district. Ultimately, trustees decided to hold off on making any decision until more information can be obtained.

Trustees did approve a biannual agreement with The University of Akron (UA) Training Center for Fire and Hazardous Materials for the use of Copley’s equipment, supplies and other apparatus during training courses taking place in the township.

UA students also will be required to sign a release from Copley Fire, according to Benson.

In other action, trustees approved applying for other grants, including to replace the fire department’s self-contained breathing apparatus plus training, for $260,000, with a 10 percent share expected from the township.

Another grant program would provide the township with new traffic control signs, according to Service Director Mark Mitchell.

Copley was identified by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) as one of the top 100 townships in Ohio with higher than average crash rates, making it eligible for up to $50,000 in traffic control signs and related hardware through a grant from ODOT, said Mitchell.

In other business, trustees:

  • accepted $10,523 from the township’s insurance company as payment for a police cruiser damaged beyond repair;
  • approved an agreement with Horne and King Architects for design services for a new police station, along with a purchase order for $56,430 for the design and development phase of the project; and
  • approved several blanket certificates for next year for ongoing expenses that could begin Jan. 1.

The Copley Board of Trustees will next meet Dec. 18, with a public hearing to begin at 6 p.m. for a proposed map amendment for 3290 Ridgewood Road, to change zoning from Residential-Medium Density/Industrial to Commercial-Office Retail. The regular meeting will follow, at the Copley Township offices, 1540 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.

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