Creek County fire departments asking for support in upcoming sales tax vote

CREEK COUNTY, Okla. — More than a dozen fire departments in Creek County are asking people to spend a little more to help save lives.

The April 6 election ballot in Creek County includes a proposal for a relatively small sales tax increase.

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The Creek County fire departments are asking people to vote “yes” to this: For every six dollars someone spends, a penny would be added to their purchase. That penny would be split evenly between 15 different departments.

Most of these fire departments are volunteer and say they’d use the money to update equipment, buy new trucks, improve training and for building maintenance.

Some fire departments have gear and equipment that’s out of date. Others say they don’t have room or money to grow.

The fire departments say this doesn’t just affect Creek County, but also all of Green Country, since so many people drive through their area, and might need immediate help if they get into trouble. The fire departments say this would also help improve ISO ratings -- a score given to a fire department rating their level of protection.

Some of these rural, volunteer fire departments don’t have great ISO numbers in areas outside of city limits. ISO ratings impact homeowners insurance.

“Every fire department will improve ISO-ratings, once they get better equipment, better training and faster response times,” Kiefer Fire Chief Chad Blankenship says.

Right now, 56 counties in Oklahoma have a fire protection sales tax. If this is approved Tuesday, it would go into effect in Creek County on July 1. If it does not pass, then the fire departments say they’d try again down the road.