Plymouth, Northville Joint Fire Services Begin Sunday
Here's what you should know about the combined department.
What happens Jan. 1?
The City of Plymouth begins its joint fire operations with the City of Northville. The city will be ceasing its relationship with Plymouth Township's fire department. With the change comes a new fire hall for the Northville City Fire Department attached to Plymouth City Hall and the city's police department.
Why did the City of Plymouth leave its partnership with Plymouth Township?
Plymouth city officials cited financial factors as its reason for leaving its agreement with Plymouth Township. It decided to terminate its 14-year contract in October 2010 to save about $400,000 annually.
Who is in charge of the department?
The Northville City Fire Department is under the direction of Chief James Allen. According to the City of Northville website, Allen oversees 45 part-time, on-call firefighters and EMS personnel.A fire advisory board, consisting of elected and appointed officials from both cities, provides input into the operation of the department, according to the City of Northville website.
What are the certifications of these firefighters?
According to the City of Northville website, all personnel are certified by the state at the Firefighter I or II level and have EMS licenses from the state. The department will provide fire suppression and basic life support emergency medical services in the cities of Plymouth and Northville from its two stations.
Where are the department's two fire stations located?
There will be one fire department in Northville and one in Plymouth. The locations and contact information are as follows:
Station 1 - Headquarters:
215 W. Main St.
Northville, MI 48167
201 S. Main Street
Plymouth, MI 48170
Will the department still participate in mutual aid?
According to the City of Northville website:
The Fire Department is an active participant in the Western Wayne Fire Mutual Aid Association, whose members include the fire departments of Western Wayne County and Southwestern Oakland County. The Association sponsors a special operations group consisting of a hazardous materials response team and a technical rescue (USAR) team, and the Department contributes personnel to each team. The Department also participates in HEMS, Inc., the emergency medical control authority for Western Wayne County.
How does this new agreement affect the City of Plymouth?
The new agreement replaces the full-time firefighters of Plymouth Township with paid on-call firefighters. All firefighters are state-certified in fire suppression and basic life support.
According to Plymouth Mayor Dan Dwyer, he would not have supported any agreement that eliminated the ability to provide advanced life support (ALS) to all residents.
“I wouldn’t be OK with this if I wasn’t 100 percent sure of that," Dwyer said in February.
How does this new agreement affect Plymouth Township?
With the departure of the City of Plymouth from Plymouth Township's fire services, the township faces a nearly $1 million shortfall in 2012 and has made cuts to the department totaling 23 percent in this year's budget to compensate for the loss of the city's contribution.
The prospect of cuts to the department has prompted a grassroots effort by the Citizens Action Group of Plymouth Township to put a millage on the ballot that would levy a millage to maintain the same level of services for the reduced coverage area. The petitioners sought one mill for five years, but the actual number and duration would be set by the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees, per state law. The township's auditing firm, Plante Moran, estimated a necessary millage of 2.44 mills to fund full services and legacy costs, including benefits and pensions for retired employees. This number has been disputed by the citizens group.
The question will appear on the Feb. 28, 2012 ballot.
Beginning Jan. 1, Plymouth Township will stop responding to calls in the City of Plymouth, except where mutual aid is requested, according to a newsletter sent in April by the township. The department's coverage area is approximately 30 percent less without the city as part of its joint fire services.