Fire Department Mergers Announced in Towns of Knightdale & Wake Forest

One of the five WFFD stations. Source: Wake Forest Fire Department
One of the five WFFD stations. Source: Wake Forest Fire Department

Two separate fire department mergers have been announced for July 2020. Two separate fire services will merge to cover Knightdale, North Carolina, and the Wake Forest non-profit FD will merge with the town.

 

Fire Department in Town of Knightdale Merges with Eastern Wake Fire

Effective July 1, 2020, the Eastern Wake Fire Rescue Department (EWFD) has merged into the Town of Knightdale Fire Department (KFD). Each organization has a storied history of commitment to the welfare and safety of the citizens of Knightdale and Eastern Wake County. The consolidated entities will provide more efficient and effective service delivery through increased responsiveness and allocation of resources.

The EWFD Board of Directors and representatives from the Town of Knightdale explored the trade-offs of consolidation through a series of meetings over the previous year. After thorough deliberation, both entities, along with the support of Wake County, approved the merger. All parties recognize the mutual benefits of consolidation to meet the increasing service demands in rapidly growing Eastern Wake County. I am very excited to see what the future holds for the new fire service in Knightdale and Eastern Wake County.

According to Chief Loren Cone “the operational advantages of the unified department will go well beyond the borders of the district. Ultimately, we hope to improve outcomes for those experiencing an emergency through efficient distribution and utilization of resources, focused training, and the creation of a community-driven strategic plan. For staff, there will also be considerable advantages. Employees will gain access to municipal benefits and the state pension plan, a defined career development path with the potential for advancement and specialization. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to lead the 75 men and women of the Knightdale Fire Department.”

KFD will continue to provide services to the town’s citizens and assume contractual responsibilities with Wake County to provide services in the Alert Fire District. The Town will also participate in Wake County’s cost-share program for future facilities and apparatus.

The merger is a continued investment in public safety by the Town of Knightdale. The Town Council recently approved the purchase of a replacement, aerial ladder truck and allocated a second, full-time fire company in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-2021 Budget. Mayor James Roberson stated that “Safety is one of the five priorities outlined in the 2019 Knightdale Strategic Plan. The Town Council and I are fully committed to meeting the needs of our police and fire departments to ensure the continued safety of our citizens.”

Source: Jonas Silver (PIO) and Source: Loren Cone, Fire Chief, Town of Knightdale

 

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Wake Forest Fire Department officially merges with the Town

After operating as a private, non-profit organization for 37 years, the Wake Forest Fire Department (WFFD) officially joined the Town of Wake Forest today.

The merger comes less than a year after the Wake Forest Board of Commissioners (BOC) unanimously authorized town staff and the town attorney to prepare an agreement between the municipality and the fire department to proceed with consolidating the department into the Town’s municipal structure. The BOC also authorized staff to engage the services of EnviroSafe, a management consulting firm specializing in local government public safety services, to assist with the transition and consolidation.

The BOC’s blessing came a month after EnviroSafe released a comprehensive report recommending that the fire department join the Town. A week later, the Wake Forest Fire Department Board of Directors also gave its unanimous consent for the fire department to become part of Wake Forest town government.

In October an executive team consisting of Town Manager Kip Padgett, Chief Financial Officer Aileen Staples and Fire Chief Ron Early began meeting with appointed sub-committees to initiate the fire department’s transition to the Town. Representatives from the Town and the fire department collaborated on those sub-committees to address a range of transition topics, including Human Resources, Information Technology, Communications, Facilities, Capital Assets/Fleet and Equipment and Operations.

Established in 1921, the WFFD currently operates with five fire stations throughout Wake Forest. Comprised of 84 paid personnel, 24 part-time employees and 30 volunteers, the department provides fire protection, emergency medical and rescue services, as well as a public education program for the community. For more information on the Wake Forest Fire Department, visit www.wakeforestnc.gov/fire.

For more information on the Town of Wake Forest and Wake Forest Fire Department merger, contact Chief Financial Officer Aileen Staples at astaples@wakeforestnc.gov or 919-435-9561 or Fire Chief Ron Early at rearly@wakeforestnc.gov or 919-556-1966.

 

Source: Bill Crabtree, Town of Wake Forest

GAL 2019
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