EASTERN OHIO is fortunate to feature several quality fire departments. Not all parts of Ohio can lay claim to such.
Fire departments are a vibrant part of their respective communities. In addition to the protection they provide, fire departments, especially in smaller communities, are often times the social hub.
The Neffs Fire Department is one of the finer units in the area. The firefighters and squad members take their positions seriously and are very efficient in carrying out their responsibilities.
They also have the added and expansive duties of protecting the village of Bellaire. It is a task that keeps the Neffs' firefighters busy as the All-American Town has been plagued by frequent fires in recent years.
Despite the demands, the Neffs Fire Department capably goes about its business in a professional way.
That being said, Bellaire Village Council made a most prudent move at last Thursday's regular meeting in reaffirming its relationship with the department. Council members overwhelmingly voted to continue to honor their contract with Neffs Fire Department.
That extension had been a point of discussion at previous council meetings. There was talk of making a switch to a volunteer department in a cost-saving move.
The current contract pays the Neffs squad $70,000 per year. We view that as money well spent.
You cannot put a price tag on safety. A volunteer squad does save money but brings with it some questions. Will there be enough manpower and will it be well-trained manpower? A volunteer squad may also spawn higher insurance costs for village residents.
We commend Bellaire Village Council for its decision, choosing safety over saving money.