Solution in sight on Chesapeake-Union fire department

Published 2:51 pm Monday, August 13, 2018

Trustee says fire fighters will undergo firearms training

CHESAPEAKE-UNION — One of the Union Township trustees says a solution has been worked out regarding the use of firearms by members of the Chesapeake-Union Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Frank Meehling II announced his resignation at last week’s meeting of Chesapeake Council, following a ban on firearms by members of the department.

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The ban was due to liability costs with insurance. Meehling expressed concerns for crew members who were going out on overdose calls and late night calls and said they wanted the firearms for protection.

Union Trustee Jason Forbush said a solution has been worked out in which the $2,500 liability cost will be paid for and fire crews would undergo training on firearms and other areas.

“We’re trying to work out a solution where everyone is going to get to come to the table,” he said.

Forbush said the township had received the insurance bill and that situation had escalated before the cost could be discussed and things could be worked out.

“It kind of blew up from there,” he said of the reaction to Meehling’s resignation.

He said the township is comitted to properly funding the department.

“It’s for the interest of the community and for firefighter safety,” he said. “We always support them the best we can.”

Joey McMaster, who was assistant chief under Meehling and now serves as interim chief, said the fire crews would undergo training beyond what is needed for concealed carry permits.

“It’s what is required for the insurance,” he said, adding the matter would need to be discussed with village leaders as well.

McMaster said the position of chief would be determined by a vote of confidence by the department, which would then be submitted to village and the township for approval.

In other news with the department, McMaster said they have recently received grants for equipment from state fire marshal, EMS and workers compensation.

He said they have also applied and are waiting to hear back on a grant from FEMA.

“That’s a regional grant for five departments,” he said.