County commissioners revoke resolution with Pecan Creek VFD

County commissioners revoke resolution with Pecan Creek VFD

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - Another bump in the road for a volunteer fire department working to serve people in western Comanche County.

At Monday's meeting, County Commissioners voted to revoke a resolution between the county and the Pecan Creek Volunteer Fire Department.

That resolution laid out requirements for the department to begin responding to calls, but they did not meet the minimum requirements to do so.

There were several requirements that Emergency Management lays out that every department must meet to respond to calls, but ultimately it came down to radios. The department does not have the necessary radios that would allow them to communicate with dispatch.

The resolution between Comanche County and the Pecan Creek Volunteer Fire Department didn't give the department a response area, as County Commissioner Don Hawthorne says it simply laid out what their response area would be if they met the requirements.

"That will continue to be Cache and Geronimo's response area. It's never been Pecan Creek Volunteer Fire Department's response area. We just delineated it so they could raise money and have a designated area to work towards responding to," Hawthorne said.

Assistant Chief Aaron Latimer said there's a very simple reason the department doesn't meet the radio requirements.

"Money. Absolutely money. Running a volunteer fire department is not cheap, we depend solely on donations, we have no free base of cash," Latimer said.

Those radios, according to Comanche County Emergency Management, cost between $2,000 - $2,500 each.

Comanche County Emergency Management Director Michael Merritt said currently, dispatch and all emergency services in Comanche County use an 800 - megahertz radio. He said for safety reasons, they cannot allow any new department to operate unless they have that same equipment.

"If you get into trouble and you call out, nobody's going to be able to hear you. Dispatch won't be able to talk to you if you don't have those radios and be able to communicate with the common communications throughout the county. If you go in a house fire and get in trouble, you have to be able to call outside and tell people you're in trouble," Merritt said.

There were also several other requirements that the department is required to meet, including showing proof of incorporation, proof of liability insurance, proof of truck insurance and other administrative issues. Merritt said they have not received those things from the department, but Latimer said they have those things complete and simply have not sent them to the county yet. With those being squared away, Latimer said they hope to get donations from the community to assist with the radios.

"Hopefully we'll hear soon if we're actually going to get the money for the radios we need. If not, we'll just keep trying, keep pushing forward," Latimer said.

Merritt and Hawthorne both said once the department is up to date and has purchased the radios they need, they will be able to discuss another resolution with the county that would again designate their response area.

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