Rural fire districts redraw boundaries to prepare for enhanced 911

Friday, May 2, 2008
This map shows the new boundaries of rural fire districts and associations in Saline County. The two shaded areas on the western edge of the Blackburn assocation are part of the Alma Rural Fire Protection Association. (Contributed image)

With the upcoming countywide 911 coming online, Saline County rural fire districts have met and changed their boundaries in order to encompass areas that were once not covered by any fire department.

"Everybody's area has changed somewhat with the exception of Glasgow, Malta Bend and Waverly. Theirs didn't change," said John Rieves, captain of Marshall's Fire Department.

The main areas that have changed are around the Miami area, which will now be covered by the Saline County Rural Fire Association. They will also officially provide protection for Van Meter State Park.

"We'd been servicing Van Meter, because the line went right to the front gate," he said. Previously, however, the city of Miami was not included.

Slater Fire District will also be picking up part of the area near Highway 41, which was previously part of the areas they called "no man's land," said Rieves.

"It was time to correct that," he said.

Among the other changes are near Blackburn, Sweet Springs, Arrow Rock and Marshall. "We used to cover a big circle, but now the area has lines," said Rieves, adding the lines make it more clear-cut as to who covers what.

Also, the new 911 will make it so not only are the primary fire district trucks called out, but also a secondary district will be called automatically.

"It's called automatic mutual aide, and that's what we're working at, because by going to that we'll gain valuable points on the ISO (insurance) ratings," he said, adding the insurance rates for businesses and landowners are based on those ratings.

Glasgow and Malta Bend are fire protection districts, so those people pay a property tax and nothing has changed in those areas, said Rieves.

In the rest of the areas, fire protection is paid for by "rural subscription." The subscription is now available to the new areas protected.

Even if a house is not a member of a fire protection association, the fire department will respond, but will send a bill for the service.

"We'll still respond," said Rieves, "but they'll get a $1,000 bill."

Being a member also lowers insurance rates for homeowners. For the Saline County association, the rural fire trucks are housed in Marshall's Fire Department station.

Anyone with questions about the new boundaries or rural fire subscriptions can call Richard Clemens, 660-886-8829; Larry Holland, 660-886-7264; or Marshall Fire Department, 660-886-3312.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at

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  • Now that the boundaries have been changed to take in those people who previously had no fire protection, maybe the people in these areas will follow the lead of the Glasgow and Malta Bend areas and vote for a fire protection tax that will enable the various agencies to provide adequate protection. Areas like Miami and Nelson are extreme distances from the nearest fire station so there is little chance of saving much if a fire occurs.

    -- Posted by SalineNative on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 12:35 PM
  • Just an FYI to the readers. Slater Rural Fire is no District. Its Slater Rural Fire Assoc. and salinenative you are on the right track thats for sure. Times have changed and its time for a tax to better suport the fire protection in the rural. Seems to me that its time for it to hit a ballot so people's property is protected better with much needed funding!

    -- Posted by SalineFire on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 4:54 PM
  • If I remember correctly, a county-wide fire district proposal was on the ballots in 2002. It failed by only a few votes but has never been resubmitted to the voters.

    -- Posted by SalineNative on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 5:03 PM
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