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-With all due respect sir, we can not speculate as to the reason why firefighters (paid or volunteer) meet the requirements set forth by the state. The point is that they HAVE meet the requirements the state has set as guidelines for a certified firefighter. The fact that the NC General Statutes do refer to retirement pensions is in no way relevent. Wheather they meet these requirements because of a pension plan, to protect their families in case they are injured while on duty, because they feel it is the best way to protect their community, because it is a job requirement, or because they are concerned with their own personal safety are all reasons that are, quite frankly, none of our buisness. They have met the requirements and have passed the curriculum. Basing our opinions on personal judgements of motivation is not making a rational decision on what is truly best for EVERYONE.
-The "name" of these stations is also not an issue at this time. In an e-mail response from Jonathan Barfield he makes it very clear that the name of these institution should NOT be changed with consolidation in order to promote good relations within the community.
-I would also like to point out that the "rosters" that have been brought into question so often during this debate are only an indication to the personel ON-SCENE at fire calls. It does NOT indicate that the 2-3 county firefighters in these staions are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. (Thus Mr. Shells statement that they answer 90% of the calls instead of 100% of the calls recieved.) But it is also safe to say that volunteers respond to the station in more instances than is currently being quoted by County officials. It is a shame that the "rosters" being mentioned so often do not give members of our community a real picture of the services being provided by BOTH sides of this debate.
-I would also like to mention that wheather these volunteers have day jobs or not is also none of our buisness and will only "muddle" this debate. The only one point that matters is wheather or not there are individuals available to answer our calls when they come in. By the above mentioned statement of Mr. Shell it is clear that paid county firefighters are not the only people taking on the responsibility of making sure that ALL of our 911 calls are answered. How they make adjustments or sacrafices in their personal schedules is irrelevent.
-Another issue that I have with your post sir is your mention of a national trend. You said "This is a NATIONAL trend where there is a need to maintain dependable service delivery and protection." The assumption that our community needs to follow this trend is speculation at best. What is better for other communities is not a responsibile way to base decisions made in New Hanover County. I have many friends who live in San Diego, CA. They have expressed concerns with me about the fire service in their area, a service that I might add is run by the local government. Because of the hardships of our economic times and budget crunches affecting their local government, their fire service has had to enact "blackout" dates in which certain resources in their fire service are not operational in order to compensate for funding issues. This has affected their response times. I am not trying to indicate that the fate of San Diego and New Hanover County fire service is necessarily the same, but I would like to illustrate that the decisions of another community are an irresponsible way to base plans that effect the well being of OUR community.
-Finally sir I would like to assure you that I will gladly attend the meetings and contribute to this process. And as more of this plan is outlined to the public I will gladly make suggestions. While I agree that many of the posts on this thread have been immature, I would like you to please take into consideration that some of us are trying to respectfully state our opinions on one of many public forums.

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