JOHNSON COUNTY — The White River Township Fire Department is working to keep students safe and partnered with local schools when they moved into its new headquarters.
The goal was to be able to be closer to schools and be able to help protect students.
"We all have a concern in our society about a school being a potential target for something, somebody who wants to do harm," said Jeremy Pell, White River Township Fire Department chief. "If we are right here front and center with the police car in the fire station the sheriff's office having a place here the school police is always welcome. It's a game changer. It's a deterrent."
Fire Station 53, located in front of Center Grove Middle School North and Pleasant Grove Elementary School, is also a substation for the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.
"We want the school to know that we are right here and when those kids are here during the day," Pell said. "To take care of their every need. We think that is a good model for the community."
Because of the location, Pell says emergency personnel can arrive within minutes.
"As a parent, I love the idea of us being so close," David Scholl said. "A quick response time in our profession in the real world is a lifesaver."
The fire department is training with police to prepare for possible emergencies, like the shooting at Noblesville West Middle School.
The new headquarters has several benefits for firefighters, like an upstairs living quarters, a fire pole, and a room with an exhaust to isolate gear.
The old station 53, located near State Road 37 and Smith Valley Road, will eventually be demolished as construction on the Interstate 69 project begins next year.