Schuylkill County to Implement Fire District System

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY --  Schuylkill County will be setting up a fire district system to help firefighters respond to fires more efficiently.

"We're looking to do things to make things a little bit easier to make things better." Jason Witmier with the Schuylkill County Fire Chiefs Association. "But, we're not going to affect the quality response they're already getting. That will remain exactly where it is."

There are about a hundred fire companies in Schuylkill County. About 70 percent of them already are assigned fire districts. The plan is to make 67 districts. Each of them will be assigned a number, and all of the trucks and equipment will get a number, too.

"Ours, for example is 63 -- the first engine in ours is 63-12," Schuylkill Haven Assistant Fire Chief Jim Reed said. "From 10-19 are all engines. The 20's are ladders. 30's are tankers and it goes down the line like that."

The fire chiefs said setting up fire districts will help the fire companies be more organized when they go out on calls. They said is very important for a county like Schuylkill County where most of the firefighters are volunteers. The chiefs said it will also help out when multiple fire companies respond to one scene.

"This makes it a whole lot easier for us to communicate, to know what's coming on scene and to know what apparatus that we're going to work with," Pottsville Fire Chief James Misstishin said.

The chiefs said it will also help out the 911 dispatchers.

"Time matters whether it is a health issue or a fire, you know, to save property, save lives," Schuylkill County Commissioner Gary Hess said. "Again, looking at this, it's going to be a little bit better for our dispatchers to get the right company out because they'll know the right equipment because of the way they're going to be numbered down."

The county plans to implement the fire districts in stages. The goal is to have every municipality on board by July.


  • Chief 22-2

    What would be more beneficial would be for the new Schuylkill County radio system to have the capability to allow outside county companies access to the Schuylkill radio system. It does not and was a short sighted and hurried implementation with no regard for that. I was one of the officers of the first piece shown on your video, a tower ladder from Dauphin County that regularly runs into western Schuylkill county as first due truck company. We are unable to communicate with ANY Schuylkill fire unit until we arrive on scene and see them face to face. We have been trying to get a resolution to this for over a year with little to no success. What we have been told is we need to buy new radios capable of communicating with Schuylkill County at a cost of about $5700 a piece. Likewise, any Schuylkill unit that we request into our county for mutual aid has to do the same thing. Does not matter to us what number you call them, we cannot talk to them anyway and that seems to be more important. I am speaking my own opinion and not of my or any other fire company.

  • Left the Skook Long Ago

    Big Lebowski said it right! But the problem is, that would make too much sense. The Skook has been and always will be decades behind the rest. Except when they’re forced for a change ( radio technology upgrade) and they fouled that up exceptionally well! Encrypting public safety airwaves??? But they dictate what the public and first responders can hear by broadcasting the encrypted channels thru an app or online. SMH

  • Roflmao

    Government going to add to government and make it more efficient. ROFLMAO!
    There are only 2 things that government is actually good at doing, maybe 3.
    1.War 2.Collecting tax 3.(?) Locking your a** up

  • Big Lebowski

    How about using plain language ie, Engine 60, Tanker 60 etc.? This numbering system is confusing to outside agencies and goes completely against NIMS

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