The Heath Fire Department has been serving the community and Licking County since 1951. The combination department protects Heath's 12.5 square miles with a staff of 20 full-time firefighter/paramedics, including Chief Warren McCord, an administrative assistant, and volunteer firefighter/EMTs with various certifications. The department operates under the county's Mutual Aid Agreement, assisting all other fire departments in Licking County.
We operate a three-platoon system working 24 hours on and 48 hours off. Each shift is assigned a Captain, Lieutenant, and four firefighter/medics. Heath Fire responds annually to about 3,000 calls for service. Always striving for improvement, Heath currently has an ISO (insurance) rating of 3. In addition to Fire and EMS services, departmental activities also include fire inspections, fire prevention, industrial and commercial fire safety training, a junior fire-setter program, and community CPR training.
Two permanent property tax levies complement the department's income tax-based funding. The Heath Fire Department implemented an EMS Billing Program in October of 2006 wherein program revenues are returned to the City's General Fund.
New Fire District, containing all of Heath Village, was created. Fire station on Heath Rd served as civic activities and fire protection. Housed one 500-gpm pumper, one 1,000-gallon tanker, and 18 volunteers. Robert Oberfield served as 1st Fire Chief.
75-foot snorkel $43,000 was received. Only one hundred snorkel trucks existed in the United States and the only one equal to Heath's snorkel was located in Lorain, Ohio. The nozzle, located in the basket of the truck, was capable of spraying 700 gallons of water per minute in a fog or straight stream.
Byerlyte Corporation Plant fire. Started with an explosion at 235pm atop one of the storage tanks where 40,000 gal of asphalt mixture was being prepared. A series of 11 more explosions happened rapidly until the fire was blazing 500ft in the air. A dense smoke hovered above the area and a substance similar to molten lava was being spewed onto the ground. Larry Brown, was one of first trucks to the fire, John Markham, Jim Tyson, and Al Lallathin were hanging above the fire to Fire Chief Harold Van Winkle's concern. Six other firemen were stationed between the fire and the naphtha and kerosene tanks and were in danger. The possibility of the tanks exploding created a risk to The Pure Oil Company, Newark Air Force Base, and the entire village. 125 men, 17 apparatus, 7 different departments, and 120 gallons of foam took 5 hours to get the fire under control. Only one fireman was injured from stepping into a pool of hot asphalt he thought was water.
Fire Department quadrupled in personnel, new fire truck's were purchased, including a chief's vehicle, emergency squads, and a rescue-pumper. A crash truck was received from Port Columbus to service the local airport, and a foam trailer, capable of discharging 5,000 plus gallons per minute of solutions on flammable liquid fires, were also added. The department aquired new computer technology and fire department management software. Thermal imagers were aquired to help search for survivors in smoke filled rooms, and the Knox Box Rapid Entry System became part of new commercial and industrial building ventures. The old Station #2 on Dog Leg Rd was transfered to the City's Street Department.
The department created a full-time position for an Administrative Assistant to the Fire Chief. The COVID pandemic shut down schools and businesses. Very shortly after, there was a historical flood of the Licking River and residents had to be evacuated with the help of Heath Fire, Heath Police, other mutual aid, and Heath City Schools Transportation department, to Indian Mound Mall where the Red Cross was there to help. During the evacuations the Prevention vehicle (2010 Dodge Charger) was caught in the flash flood, and was replaced with a 2017 Nissan Rogue.
With the help of the Cares Act, the department was able to purchase a decon machine for each station as well as a new medic, 2020 Ford F450, to use primarily for the purpose of responding to potential or confirmed COVID-19 patients.