Voters renew Covington Fire/EMS levy

COVINGTON — Voters in the village of Covington approved the renewal of a 2.5-mills, 5-year property tax for fire protection and emergency medical services. The levy will commence in 2021 and will be due in 2022.

Votes for the levy totaled 864, or 71 percent, and votes against totaled 353, or 29 percent.

“We’re very grateful to the community and the people of Covington that we’re lucky enough to get to provide our services to,” said Covington Fire and EMS Inc. President Chris Haines on Tuesday evening. “They’ve always been extremely supportive of us and we’re really excited to see that again this time.”

According to Haines, the levy originated in 2016 to allow two emergency medical services personnel on staff for 24 hours, 7 days a week coverage of the village, and Newberry Township.

Haines said the full-time, round the clock staff, has decreased its response time from six minutes down to two minutes per call. Haines said time is everything in emergency medical situations.

“Given the opportunity to get someone hooked up to a defibrillator in a few minutes will give someone a better chance of a positive outcome for them,” Haines said. Haines noted better response times also help in containing fire situations in its call area.

According to Haines, in 2019, the department had 235 fire calls and 612 EMS runs — or about two calls per day.

Haines said residents have been very supportive of the move to full-time emergency services over the last several years.

“It’s been very well-received and something the community sees as an asset,” Haines said.

The funding also supports the fire department’s equipment upkeep, apparatus, and payment of its full-time EMS staff.

The fire department also hosts several fundraisers as well as donations from organizations throughout the Covington community.

Haines said the department couldn’t operate without help from its residents to continue to provide services the community has expected over the years.

According to the village of Covington’s website, the Covington Fire Department currently has 44 members consisting of volunteer firefighters and part-time Paramedics/EMT’s.

Covington Fire & Rescue Inc. is a 501 c3 non-profit corporation contracted for fire/EMS services. Their area of responsibility for fire and EMS covers approximately 36 square miles and includes the village of Covington and Newberry Twp. The organization also provides fire coverage to Washington Twp., participates in Automatic Mutual Aid Response, as well as area-wide mutual aid agreements, assisting other agencies when necessary.

In July 2017, the Covington EMS combined with the Covington Fire Department merging into the complex at 801 E. Broadway St. This has allowed EMS services to have staff on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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