WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A growing staff will help West Lafayette emergency crews if annexation is approved. West Lafayette Fire Chief Tim Heath said his department and the Wabash Township Volunteer Fire Department are already responding to calls together.
He said the two departments have different philosophies, and have a lot to learn from each other.
West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said public safety is one of the top priorities to get in order before annexation begins. As the city grows in size, so would the police and fire departments.
"What the fiscal plan requires is an increase in staffing," Dennis said. "The West Lafayette Fire Department will be looking at gaining six officers within that first year. The West Lafayette Police Department will be looking at gaining four officers."
West Lafayette Fire Chief Tim Heath said the two departments are responding to the same calls already. But he said they would work more closely after the annexation to learn each other's strengths.
"I hope they look to us on how to fight fires in taller buildings," Heath said.
Both Heath and Dennis said they want to learn the township department's drafting technique.
"That's when you pull water from an existing body of water," Dennis said. "Because we are hydranted in this city we don't have that training or the apparatus to do so. We look forward to cooperating with Wabash Township in order to provide that service."
Another aspect Heath wants to work with the township on is getting the departments the same Insurance Service Office rating.
Right now WLFD has a better rating with a four. The township has a five.
ISO ratings can affect home insurance payments, but annexation could help level some out.
"If you're in a city with full time firefighters, and serviced by a full time fire department, potentially you could have a lower insurance rate," Heath said.
He says joint training could help get both departments the same rating.
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