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VHC merger continues to move forward

Danielle Ryan

Frank Davis, President of the Vigilant Hose Company Fire Department and Tim Clarke, spokesperson/liaison for both the VHC and the Ambulance Company, were pleased to announce that the merger between the ambulance department and fire department is continuing to move along smoothly. Four months ago, Emmitsburg’s fire department and ambulance department decided to create a merger, bringing both departments together into one, more convenient location. A meeting was held, which was attended by members of both departments, and they voted unanimously to merge.

The two on-duty career Emergency Medical Technician/Firefighters began working from the Vigilant Hose Company facility (25 West Main Street / Station 6) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 8. Both ambulances were transferred to Station 6 at the same time. The transfer of Frederick EMT’s was a decision made by the departments in order to ensure better supervision, continuity and cost savings. Full administrative transition will be effective midnight December 31, 2017, as it is simpler and easier to make final legal changeovers at the start of the new tax year. It is the intention to have everything in the merger completely settled by Jan 1, 2018. Tim Clarke noted that both companies are anxiously awaiting the county’s approval of their submitted proposal, which has been promised shortly. This proposal to assist with the merger will be key in moving forward for everyone involved.

After the merger is complete, all operations will be run out of the VHC facility on Main Street. The ambulance company will continue to house their utility and one duty vehicle at the Creamery Road Station. Once combined, the companies will consist of over 75 active members and a similar number of social and auxiliary members. VHC is proud to say they just welcomed fifteen new members into the organization from Company 26 in September. Of course company personnel are also proud to say that since the merger has started, neither department has failed on a single response.

In regards to questions concerning future events, Clarke noted that a majority of the VHC fundraisers will still be held at the Creamery Road location. The facility provides ample parking, accommodates a great number of people and holding events at this facility means reduces the stress on equipment that would normally have to sit outside in adverse conditions. However, out of tradition, some events may still be held at the station on Main Street.

The transition thus far, as stated by Clarke, has been very positive between both organizations. He stated, " This merger once again shows that the Emmitsburg Public Safety leadership has always been forward thinking when it comes to saving lives, protecting property, and saving taxpayers money. We are extremely hopeful that our merger sets the example for other jurisdictions to do the same. This is why we think it is so important that the county government use this as an opportunity to show other jurisdictions how they will be financially supportive of similar mergers moving forward that ultimately will save county taxpayers millions of dollars."

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