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Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service

The Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service is comprised of 25 individuals with direct knowledge of the volunteer fire service and outside community-based officials representing township trustees, county commissioners and other related agencies.  The Task Force is a volunteer-based panel looking to improve several aspects of the Ohio volunteer fire service community. Our mission is to improve the future sustainability of volunteer fire departments in Ohio by making evidence-based recommendations specifically on recruitment and retention, response and operations, and financial resources at the local level and training to achieve long term stability of volunteer fire service in Ohio. 

Volunteer Task Force Regional Roundtables Set

Join State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon and members of the Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to discuss current challenges faced by volunteer departments in Ohio. These roundtable events will be held in various regions across the state and provide an opportunity for firefighters and community members to share information with members of the task force. The task force will then be responsible for making recommendations to improve the sustainability of the volunteer fire service in Ohio. All events are free and open to the public. 

Select a convenient location so your voice can be heard:

Printable Roundtable Map

NORTHEAST

WED. 7/27

3:30 – 5:30 PM

WAYNE CO. REGIONAL TRAINING FACILITY

2725 S MILLBORNE RD., APPLE CREEK, OH 44606

NORTHWEST
 

 

WED. 8/17

3:30 – 5:30 PM

PENTA CAREER CENTER

9301 Buck Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551

SOUTHEAST

SAT. 8/20

10:00AM – 12:30PM

HAMDEN FIREFIGHTERS COMMUNITY FACILITY

138 E. RAILROAD ST

HAMDEN OH 45634

 

SOUTHWEST

SAT. 10/1

10:00AM – 12:30PM

WARREN COUNTY CAREER CENTER

3525 OH-48, Lebanon, OH 45036

CENTRAL

WED. 9/28

3:30PM – 5:30PM

STATE FIRE MARSHAL

8895 E Main St, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

CENTRAL

SAT. 10/8

10:00AM – 12:30PM

STATE FIRE MARSHAL

8895 E Main St, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

 

If you plan to attend, RSVP to Tonia Smith at tonia.smith@com.ohio.gov 

 

Meeting Minutes

Please see our latest meeting minutes from the Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service:

Meeting Minutes May 17, 2022

Meeting Minutes July 13, 2022

Regional Roundtable Recordings

In case you missed it, please watch the recording of our regional roundtable listening tour: 

Northeast Ohio Firefighter Task Force Roundtable July 27 at Wayne County Regional Training Center Apple Creek, Ohio

Northwest Ohio Firefighter- Task Force Roundtable August 17 at Penta Career Center Perrysburg, Ohio

Southeast Ohio Firefighter Task Force Roundtable August 20 at Hamden Firefighters Community Facility, Hamden, Ohio

Comments for the Task Force

In case you missed our roundtables or thought of something else share, please add your comments, questions and feedback for the task force members here: Comments/Feedback for Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service

FAQs

Share the mission of the Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service with others.

View the attached fact sheet for valuable information.

Announcement

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine formed the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to study and make recommendations to improve volunteer fire service in Ohio. Spearheading the effort is Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sherry Maxfield, State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon, and several local elected officials and firefighters.

“You never know when you may need emergency services, but you want to make sure that when you do need them, they are fast and efficient,” said Governor DeWine at the event. “I asked Fire Marshal Reardon to assemble the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service to examine these issues and the state of fire services throughout Ohio and to provide recommendations so we can ensure the continuation of reliable emergency coverage for our communities.”

Data collected by the Division of State Fire Marshal shows more than half of registered fire departments in Ohio are staffed by volunteers. While there has been a 6.5 percent decrease in the number of volunteers in the state since 2018, there has been a continual increase in the number of emergency calls.

“As a career firefighter, I know the fire service is rooted deep in tradition, but the challenges of today can only be addressed through forward-thinking, innovative solutions. There is no single greatest issue of concern, for the volunteer firefighter service there are many – and together, they are creating challenges never before seen,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon. “This is not only an Ohio issue, this is a national problem, but Ohio can and will serve as an example.”

Potential issues the Ohio Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service will examine include:

  • Recruitment of volunteers
  • Financial stability of volunteer fire departments
  • Training issues
  • Resource assessment, and
  • Long-term stability of the volunteer fire department structure

Chaired by State Fire Marshal Reardon, members of the task force include:

  • Ohio State Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon
  • William (BJ) Jetter, City Manager, Deer Park
  • Mayor Ben Stahler, City of Bellfontaine
  • Mark Stahl, Ottawa County Commissioner
  • Dean Fadel, President, Ohio Insurance Institute
  • Chief Kyle Miller, Cedarville Township Volunteer Fire Department
  • Chief Dorothy Battles, OFE, Thompson Fire Department
  • Chief Ed Koziol, Rome Fire Department
  • Chris Rotondo, Trustee, Brown Township (Carroll County)
  • Ron Miller, Trustee, Holmes Township (Crawford County)
  • Tom Bentley, Secretary/Treasurer, Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors (OSFSI)
  • Charlie Dixon, Vice President, OSFSI
  • John Desmarteau, Northeast Ohio Fire Prevention Association (NEOFPA)
  • Jim Davis, NEOFPA
  • Chief Scott Skeldon, Ohio State Firefighters Association (Jefferson Twp.), Madison County EMA
  • Zach Wolfe, Holmes Twp. Volunteer Fire Department (Crawford County)
  • Jason Pollitt, Williamsburg Twp. (Clermont County)
  • Mark Gibson, Indian Joint Fire District (Logan County)
  • Justin Whitehead, Pleasant Twp. Fire Department (Clark County)
  • Arron Lemaster, Scioto Twp. Fire Department (Jackson County)
  • Chief John Finley, Malta & McConnelsville Volunteer Fire Department, chair of the Ohio State Fire Council
  • Chief Jack Smith, Ohio Fire Academy
  • Aaron Jennings, EMS Deputy Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety
  • Matt Jaksetic, EMA Planner, Ohio Department of Public Safety
  • John Logue, Chief of Strategic Direction, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation

Governor DeWine's Task Force on Volunteer Fire Service