(Clyman) Three Dodge County fire departments have officially merged. The departments in Clyman, Lowell, and Reeseville have been running auto-aid since 2014, meaning that each station would respond to an emergency situation upon request. The stations, referred to as CLR, are entirely volunteer based but in recent years have struggled to find willing and able bodies. In 2019, the three municipalities began studying the possibility of a merger.
CLR Chief Eric Howlett says the pandemic put a hold on their plans to unite, but in 2021 efforts were reignited to get the merger done. He says the agreement became official at midnight on January 1st. Howlett says this was a huge task for everyone to overcome. He notes that he could not say enough good things for all leaders involved who made this merger happen.
According to state statute, Wisconsin fire departments must maintain a roster of 30 volunteers or be at risk of getting shutdown. Howlett says each station alone struggled to hit that number but together, they are over 50 members strong.
Howlett says the process to merge the three departments went smoothly and they were able to expand their first responder coverage as a result. He says the Lowell-Reeseville First Responders, who operated independently of the fire department, came along with the merger. Howlett says portions of the Towns of Portland and Elba, who only had EMS coverage, were able to receive first responder coverage following the merger.
Howlett says this consolidation means less needed equipment over time which will save taxpayers money. He adds, as for now, each departments’ vehicles and gear will remain the same color and will continue to bear the community’s name.