Sunday, July 23, 2000

Liberty Twp. wins big grant

Funds fire training

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LIBERTY TOWNSHIP — One of the fastest growing townships in Butler County has won its largest grant ever to help firefighters keep a booming population safe.

        Liberty Township officials announced receiving a $34,000 grant last week from the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the State Board of Emergency Medical Services.

        The grant, which will help fund fire and EMS training and the purchase of new patient care equipment, is a boost to a fire department that has strained at times to serve this growing southeastern Butler County community.

        Since 1980 Liberty Township's population has increased more than three-fold.

        Nell Kilpatrick, Liberty Township administrator, said the increase in residents from 1980, when population was about 7,000, to the current estimate of more than 24,500 has caused a similar jump in fire and EMS emergency calls.

        “With the rapid growth of Liberty Township, the requests for emergency response have grown on almost a weekly basis,” Ms. Kilpatrick said.

        Liberty Township fire officials said the annual number of fire and EMS runs in the community has nearly doubled in the last five years.

        In 1994 there were 700 such emergency runs and last year there were 1,314 such runs.

        To meet the increasing demand, the township is planning to add a third fire station.

        With the help of township residents, who last November approved a 3-mill fire levy that raises $912,000 annually, fire officials say so far they are keeping pace in matching emergency services with population growth. The new levy replaced a 1.5- mill fire levy that expired on Jan. 1.

        “We're holding our own,” Liberty Township Assistant Fire Chief John Detherage said. “But to get the $34,000 to help us train people and get more equipment is a big help.”

        Part of the state grant will go to buying new EMS equipment, such as defibrillators, ventilators and suction units for the township's EMS vehicles.


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