ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson agrees with a new study and says we would be safer in St. Louis City and County with one regional fire district, instead of 43 separate fire departments.

The study from the group Better Together says one district covering the entire region would improve response time, and would ensure all departments have the same equipment and firefighters have the same training.

Jenkerson agrees with that, and he thinks one department would save a lot of money.

“The ability to eliminate some of the redundancies in all of the 43 different departments,” Jenkerson says. “Just look at health insurance for all of these different departments. If you are able to get one big health insurance plan into the department, you are going to save money there.”

And there’s another reason it makes sense, he says.

“When you talk about a major disaster, that’s when we probably have a big issue in the region with the (municipalities) and smaller fire districts,” Jenkerson says. “Because they don’t have the resources to handle a major disaster.”

Jenkerson says there are mutual aid agreements between the departments, and there’s a good relationship now between all districts.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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