Peace sign: Joint fire training works

When the Camillus and Fairmount fire departments held elections this year, promises were made on both sides to renew joint training exercises and help put to bed a well-publicized feud.

The public got a glimpse at how the departments are making good on that promise last week during a joint training exercise held on West Genesee Street.

Though the departments have been holding monthly joint training drills since May, Tuesday's drill was one of the most visible to the public. Held across from Camillus Commons, members of both departments participated in a drill at a former private residence at 5308 W. Genesee St.

Camillus Assistant Chief Scott Penoyer said the joint drills have been very beneficial to both departments, allowing members to become familiar with how equipment is stored on the other department's vehicles, which could help shave precious seconds off of response times during real rescue situations.

Ross and Christine Sanford were just two of many community members and local officials who took advantage of the opportunity to see their firefighters in action.

Christine Sanford said she thought the departments training together was great.

For Ross Sanford, the exercise served as an example of why consolidation of departments should be studied.

"It's a cost factor for taxpayers. You've got to save money, and service doesn't suffer," Ross Sanford said.

Fire meeting productive

Earlier that day, Camillus Supervisor Mary Ann Coogan attended a meeting with Onondaga County Executive Joanne Mahoney, Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes and Cicero Supervisor Chet Dudzinski to discuss the future of fire protection in the county.

Sykes said the group discussed a range of topics relating to fire protection, including the parallel results of three separate studies conducted in recent years, all of which suggested consolidation of departments.

Some of the other issues addressed during the 90-minute meeting included retention and recruitment issues, administration and oversight problems, cost increases, duplication of services and equipment, recent legislation that would make it easier to dissolve fire districts, and the importance of public education, Sykes said.

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