County to drop firefighter app
Volunteer firefighters who want to continue getting texts, maps, and alerts about fires on their cell phones will have to pay $11 a year for the service starting in July.
Commissioners voted 4-1 Monday to stop paying for Active 911 service for county firefighters.
The service is used primarily to notify firefighters of controlled burns.
Commission chairman David Mueller said the county agreed to pay for Active 911 when county emergency services radios were switched to a new system four years ago.
Fire departments had problems getting radios to perform in certain areas, and some were even using cell phones to communicate at fire scenes.
Active 911 is an app firefighters have on their phones. It shows a map of where a fire is, pages firefighters, and has other features.
“It’s an excellent resource for the firefighters,” Mueller said.
But some firefighters have complained about delayed and incomplete notifications.
Firefighters are paged via radio for actual fires but have used Active 911 instead of radios to receive notifications about controlled burning.
When the county agreed to pay for the service, the agreement was made on a temporary basis, Mueller said.
World events prompted discussion among county commissioners when quickly rising costs of fuel and oil after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused concern about the price of fuel used by the county — especially the road and bridge department.
Engineer Brice Goebel showed commissioners Monday monthly fuel bids for the department, which buys most of the fuel for the county.
Fuel prices appear to have increased even before the invasion.
Epp’s Service at Elbin bid $16,965.70.
MFA Oil bid $18,401.40.
In January, Epp’s bid was $15,144.20. In February, Epp’s bid was $16,806.90.
In other business, commissioners discussed but took no action on county residents doing work on roads that adjoin their property.
Road and bridge crews sometimes have to make repairs after property owners do a poor job, Goebel said.
Goebel said that if a repair was done so badly an accident resulted, the county could be held liable.
“I think the thing we can do to avoid liability is a one-paragraph policy that says we do not give permission to any individual to work on any county road,” commissioner Kent Becker said.
Becker said that rural residents doing road work was a problem everywhere, and recounted how he once had once followed an oil field bulldozer in a different county.
“He wasn’t doing a very good job,” Becker said.