Upper Moreland Township potentially voting to decertify Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Department

Upper Moreland Township will vote on whether to decertify the Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Company on Monday, December 4, according to FOX29.

During a Commissioner’s Public Safety Committee meeting on Monday, November 27, Township Manager Matthew Candland presented the findings of a two-year study on the state of the volunteer company, FOX29 reported. 

“The problem is that we currently have 60 members of the Willow Grove Fire Company and of those only 16 are certified firefighters as of this month. In 2023 on average, only six of those volunteers per month were performing at the 25% level or higher. That 25% is active level,” Candland said.

“We could go fully 24-7 and hire all full-time firefighters,” Candland continued. “That’s not sustainable to costs. We could create a regionalized response. It’s a great idea but difficult to get consensus, or third we could decommission the volunteer fire department and strive to rebuild the combination model. That is what the commissioners are considering.”

A motion in a November 13 Township meeting agenda considered decertifying the Company’s operations.

According to the Company’s statement shared via Facebook, the motion stemmed in part from Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Company’s unsigned Fire Services Agreement.

“We have agreed to virtually all of the demands the Township has made of us in the Fire Service Agreement, including complete operational cooperation and financial transparency,” the company’s statement said. “However the Township is demanding that we hand over control of State Money awarded to the Volunteer Fire Co on a yearly basis that is to be used for Volunteer Insurance Programs and Safety related items.

“If this motion passes it will end the Willow Grove Volunteer Fire Co Service to UM Twsp residents after 116 years of service,” the statement said.

For footage of the meeting courtesy of FOX29, you can watch below:

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Screengrab: FOX29