Below is a link to an editorial that was sent to me by a close friend-I hadn’t seen or read it until now…
we just had to share it with you. Maybe you already read it. Back from therapy yet?
A columnist, noted for his interesting views on improving local government, shares suggestions (to save tax dollars) that if someone dials 9-1-1 to report a fire, the fire department should only send a firefighter in a car to verify that there really is a fire. If there is really a fire or emergency, that firefighter should then rapidly summon "major-scale" equipment and more firefighters ….when there’s a truly a confirmed serious fire emergency.
What a great idea.
Their next proposal should include a heart attack verification unit. Because the.. "Arrrrggghh …HELP ME…..girgle…..gasp….I am having a h-h-heart attack!!" ..9-1-1 phone call and the callers gasping words really don’t prove anything until someone gets there and verifies it. No sir, it’s NOT a heart attack until WE get there and VERIFY that it is. The blue "hue" of non-breathing Uncle Hugh’s face means nothing.
Or perhaps an un-armed citizen patrol volunteer should respond first when someone calls "claiming" that there is some dirt bag beating up a woman while a little kid watches. After all, it isn’t true unless it is first verified.
Or the FIRE idea. A fire in the basement creates a little smoke in the upstairs of a home, the occupants notice it, they call 9-1-1 as the smoke detectors sound, and the FD sends "Smokey" in a nice, red, sporty, 68 Buick. Smokey gets there and sees Mom trying to get to her children that are trapped in the basement, the basement that is now well involved. Smokey calls back and verifies that there is a "major scale" fire…and knows that if he had hose lines, tools and about 20+ more firefighters, he might be able to actually give the taxpayers their moneys worth. But who are THOSE parents to actually think THEY know when their home actually needs more than ONE Firefighter. Silly taxpayers.
However, they did save money on all that apparatus fuel that otherwise "might" have been wasted. But then what about the coroners fuel? All tax dollars.
We aren’t going to get into a psss-ing contest debating the issues of waste in local, state or Federal government. It’s there and everyone knows where it is. Start at the top and work your way down. Staff, Take home cars. Perks. Ridiculous salaries at many levels. You could walk in blind-folded to many City Halls and trip over waste. The City Hall dwellers live for that stuff. Look who we have been bailing out lately and how they have been spending our money …after being "bailed" out… by "our" Federal Gov’t.
How’s that worked out? Yeah-exactly.
But don’t think for a second that some potentially un-drug tested locally elected official somewhere is reading the below commentary, thinking "Hmmm….that’s not a bad idea"…." we should do that here"….
So what’s the solution? One might be that perhaps some cities, counties, villages, towns, whatever…develop a plan.
A plan of priorities. Not one of blatant risks to public safety, but one of priorities for what is important to those who pay the taxes and what is less important, no matter what the economy. In other words, when the last tax dollars are available, what are the pre-planned priorities? Whatever level of fire rescue service was previously decided upon is it, which should mean then, until there is no money left, that’s what gets funded. That means everything else is cut. Or maybe soccer fields are the priority with the city deciding they only want 1 police officer on patrol and 5 Firefighters arriving in 3-4 minutes? Then that’s the plan and the FD will act accordingly. After all, we cannot handle a 25 FF fire with just 5 FF’s no matter had badly we may want to. Take your own garbage to the dump-there is no more collection. Mow your soccer fields-the mower people are gone. But if your kid has a medical emergency or you MIGHT have a house fire, we will be there. Or at least Smokey in the car will, and he’ll then call for "not-so-mutual" aid.
Its kinda nuts that when things are great, the spending just keeps on going…but then when money is tight, like it is in almost everyplace these days, political agendas take over vs. what may be best for those who need the most critical of basic government services. And that would be those who call 9-1-1.
The bad-day havers.
This isn’t going to be the first "out there" brainstorm of irresponsibly dangerous ideas that will eventually cost lives. No emotion: fact. 1 FF going to verify if there is a reported fire = dead citizens. Sooner or later. That’s why fire companies were created by Ben Franklin…the guy on the horse checkin’ to see if there was really a fire didn’t work out real well…the fire predictably got worse. When everything is sprinklered (and we do support that), then maybe our world will change, but that’s not reality today.
But this is also an opportunity for fire service leadership, from the IAFC and the IAFF to the NFPA and other related national fire organizations to continue to further aggressively help their members locally and nationally deal with this kind of proposed lunacy…from the "municipal critics".
HeII, we haven’t even discussed the "response to terrorism" role that the very busy Smokey-In-The-Buick must also play. That should also work out real well.
=Here is that newspaper commentary:
=Here are 2 fire staffing related videos to help you get started:
The Secret List 11-30-08 / 1945 hours