At the Bethel Township Trustees’ meeting on Tuesday of last week, the Fire Department had several major developments to address.

Fire Chief Jacob King gave an explicit recommendation on the installation of Bethel’s own seven-siren tornado alarm system, due to complications with the current alarm system being less effective for certain regions of the township. Particularly, the last tornado to make its way through the area produced serious complications when the National Weather Radar was down during the storm’s occurrence, which complicated the activation of the proper warning systems. As it was, Fire Chief King made his opinion clear on the necessity of Bethel’s new tornado system in order to mitigate the risks of such an occurrence in the future.

King acknowledged that the covered territory of this new alarm system would likely extend beyond Bethel and would overlap into New Carlisle, as well as Pike Township. The projected cost for installing the new siren system is $177,514, with no quote available about what the annual maintenance costs would be. If the Bethel trustees so choose to install this new system, a federal grant was proposed for covering the cost. There is currently no tornado siren system independent of the fire station. King wanted to acknowledge, however, the efficiency of having weather apps such as the Redcross and Weather Channel apps installed on one’s phone for anticipated storm activity.

Other news involving the Fire Department was its recent purchase of a new EMS Medic vehicle. True to the Bethel tradition of over a century, Chief King as well as the other on-duty firemen joined a gathering from the local community in the ceremony of pushing the new vehicle into the station. The celebratory pushing of the vehicle into the station followed the painting of the truck by the department. The colors on the medic were black, red and gold.

The trustees also discussed plans to switch the township’s cell phone provider from Verizon to AT&T. The estimated annual savings are $9350. The change in providers would eliminate the need for a local 911 telephone line, and would increase the bandwidth for Bethel’s cell phone reception. Fire Chief King made a note of the fact that it would eliminate the risk of too many 911 calls overloading the current telephone line. A motion was passed last Tuesday to make the switch.

Other news included the sum total of May’s 911 calls, with 118 EMS and 65 Fire calls for a total of 181 calls. There have been 84 calls per this month, with 890 calls for the year. The fire department also welcomed three new workers; Curtis Schimmel, Brandon Camarota and Andrew Thompson to the Paid-for-Call program at the Bethel Fire Department.

Upcoming events include the Clark County Township Association meeting on June 29th at 6:00 in the Bushnell Banquet Center via RSVP; the quarterly meeting the Bethel Road Crew on June 20th at 2:00 pm. The preconstruction meeting will take place on Friday, June 16 at the Engineer’s Office starting at 9:00 am. The trustees also moved the 2018 budget hearing to July 11th at 6:00 pm.

The trustees will hold their next meeting on TuesdayJune 27th starting at 7:00 pm.

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