Atwater will temporarily extend fire department hours on weekends

Atwater Fire Department will operate on an expanded schedule for the next two months, thanks to a 2-1 vote by township trustees.

The department has been staffed from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays by one full-time member and a revolving roster of part-timers. After hearing a proposal by Assistant Fire Chief Jay Brock, trustees approved extending department hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends as well.

The extended schedule will last for 60 days.

Trustee Lynn Whittlesey opposed the measure but was outnumbered by trustees John Kovacich and Peggy Bainey.

Whittlesey, who served for over a decade as the township fire chief, said he is not opposed to extending fire department hours, but he wanted to see data indicating the most critical need.

“What is the pattern for calls coming in? What’s the pattern of time of day, what day? It’s based on nothing,” he said.

Simply extending the hours to include weekends may be “completely the wrong thing to do,” he said. “If we’re going to experiment, let’s experiment, but let’s do it based on something other than just a gut feeling. Let’s extend it correctly.”

Other Atwater news:

  • Trustees approved Brock’s request to send a tanker and the fire department’s pick-up truck to join the June 11 Sebring Festival and Parade, continuing Atwater’s yearly participation in the event.
  • Trustee Peggy Bainey gave a shout-out to Atwater’s road crew, which braved inclement weather to put up 41 banners honoring township military veterans on utility poles on state Route 183 and Waterloo Road. Residents who wished to sponsor a banner each paid $100. The banners feature the veteran’s picture, name, rank, branch of service, where they served and the years of service.
  • Trustees received a report that people are hanging out at Atwater Park after hours, and a porta-potty was tipped over and damaged. The company’s insurance will take care of things and, they hope, secure the porta-potties so they cannot be tipped again. The park is open from dawn to dusk.