Mt. Gilead and Central View volunteer fire departments to merge, combining resources


Volunteer fire departments across America are facing challenges ensuring a response to help their neighbors. Staffing and recruitment continue to be an uphill battle to ensure an adequately trained and diverse response. In addition to the smaller pool of interested volunteers is the increasing training hours necessary to meet the standard to deliver the level of service many expect. As a result, fire departments across the state and country continue to struggle to provide that coverage and are taking a unique approach. One of those approaches is a merger between two or more fire departments.

Chief Matt McBride of the Central View Volunteer Fire Department and Chief Thomas Steele of the Mt. Gilead Volunteer Fire Department, both located in the southwest corner of White County have met several times along with their command staff and volunteer members to develop a plan to merge the two fire districts.

 “Several benefits are expected from this merger, including increasing the number of members and types of equipment each department can claim for ISO rating purposes,” said Chief Steele.

“One of the primary concerns that all involved have raised is ensuring that the current stations continue to be equipped to the level they are now or better and that they retain the community names they have each served for over 30 years,” said Chief McBride.

On Oct. 16, 2023, the White County Commission voted 12 yes to 1 no vote to allow the fire districts to merge. County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson pointed out that, “as an elected body the law allows the commission to define the geographical boundaries of each fire district, these chiefs are asking that we allow them to merge their districts.”

The chiefs look forward to working together for the betterment of their districts and hope to continue to trigger more interest in volunteering at the fire departments across the county by showing that they are adaptive and willing to do what is necessary to provide excellent and high - quality services to the citizens and visitors of White County.


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