Cheltenham Township Decertified Ogontz Fire Company

Posted on Wednesday December 16, 2020
Ogontz Fire Company, Station 5, was decertified by the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners on December 16, 2020, effective immediately. Fire and emergency responses will be covered by Glenside, La Mott, Elkins Park and the Cheltenham Hook and Ladder Company.

ELKINS PARK, PA – At its final regularly-scheduled meeting of 2020 on December 16, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners voted to decertify the Ogontz Fire Company. Effective immediately, Station 5 will no longer respond to fires and other emergencies within the Township.

The Commissioners would like to assure all residents that this action will improve the Cheltenham Township Fire Company’s ability to protect life and property in Cheltenham Township. The Township’s other four fire companies – Glenside, La Mott, Elkins Park, and The Cheltenham Hook and Ladder Company – will continue to provide service throughout the entire Township, including the area formerly served by the Ogontz Fire Company. The fire companies in and around Cheltenham Township have always supported each other as part of a mutual aid program. Under this mutual aid program, the closest fire company, regardless of fire district or municipal boundaries, will be assigned and dispatched to an emergency event. This remains unchanged.

Daniel B. Norris, President of the Board of Commissioners, said, “While this was a difficult decision, we believe it was the right one for the Township and our dedicated fire companies based on the recently-released Fire and the PFM studies.”

Both the November 2020 Cheltenham Township Fire Department Analysis and August 2020 Five-Year Strategic Financial Management Plan completed by PFM were funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

The Board of Commissioners used the findings of both studies, which pointed out inefficiencies in Cheltenham’s Fire Companies, to decertify Ogontz Fire Company upon recommendation of the Township Manager. The Fire Study suggested a reduction in the number of fire companies, among other actions, to help improve emergency services provided to the residents and property owners of Cheltenham Township. This recommendation was made because membership in Ogontz Fire Company has been in decline, resulting in insufficient firefighters to respond to calls. The Board of Commissioners believes decertification of the Ogontz Fire Company will lead to a more efficient use of Township resources and its willing and dedicated volunteers.

“The Commissioners are confident that this decision will help improve public safety in the Township,” Norris said. “Our remaining four fire companies will become more resilient and stronger in their ability to provide fire protection to the community.”

All current members of the Ogontz Fire Company will have the opportunity to join one of the four active fire companies remaining in the Township.

The Board of Commissioners extends its gratitude for the 128 years of service provided by the Ogontz Fire Company and its members.

December 16, 2020 Presentation to the Board of Commissioners
Video of the Presentation at the Board of Commissioners Meeting (starts at 1:07:00)

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