HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – Hubbard’s Eagle Joint Fire District is going through some changes. It’s making a switch from all-volunteer to part-time staffing. It’s the first step in staffing the department around the clock.
Now, every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be three firefighters staffed at the station, which currently has 27 volunteers.
Since the 1800s when the Eagle Joint Fire District began, it had always been a volunteer department — until today, but it took some time to get to this point.
“First, you have to convince the firefighters and the board members that there’s a need for it,” said Eagle Joint Fire District Chief Ron Stanish.
That need was that there weren’t enough people able to be on call during the day.
“When I first started here, there were a lot of people in this community that, you know, had their own business, worked in town, were just able to respond during the day. You just don’t have that today. You have people work out of town, they’re unable to respond during the day,” Chief Stanish said.
So, they put a levy on the ballot last spring for a paid fire department. It passed 70 to 30 percent.
“We’ve had overwhelming support and you look around, some of those levies are passing by small margins. Tends to make you worry a little bit, but this community came through,” Chief Stanish said.
Since then, they’ve hired nine additional part-time firefighters from surrounding departments to fill in those Monday through Friday shifts.
“They’re all certified, EMS certified. They need to learn our equipment to get comfortable with it and be more familiar with this community,” Chief Stanish said.
For community members, should a fire happen during the day, response times to scenes will be quicker.
“It’s getting water on the fire quicker. Before, we have to wait a time for people to get there. Now, we’re getting out the door quicker and we can prevent more damage by getting there quicker and likewise with emergency medical calls and accidents even,” said the department’s Jim Richmond.
As for whether the station could become a round-the-clock staffed department, Chief Stanish said that will just depend on the community’s needs in the coming years.