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-Sir, as you were asked on the WECT thread, isn't it true that 3-4 paid county firefighters currently run the "first-out" trucks in these stations and would therefore be the firefighters responsible for the inital "scene size-up"?
-Something else that I think should be brought to your attention is the fact that the Board of Directors as well as the charters of these organiztions have outlined requirements of their officers both in matters of experience and training. Requirements that must be met BEFORE they are eligible for election.
-I also think it should be mentioned that volunteers also have a limitaion on the minimum amount of hours they must put in to retain their membership.
-As for "checking off a truck", these departments were responsible for the maintence of these trucks long before the formation of the county fire department. At that time a few members made a trip to the station house every night with the sole purpose of checking the lights, sirens, and other features of the truck as well as checking the inventory of equipment on the truck. Now 3-4 of their paid county collegues man these stations around the clock. Shouldn't the maintence of these trucks fall on the individuals who are not only there all the time but are getting PAID to be on duty? I would assume that these paid firefighters would be as proud of the equipment that they rely on as the volunteer departments that own it have proven to be for decades.
-You should also be aware that I am not interested in lying to anyone. I have two concerns with these volunteers transfering their service to the county. First of all, as I have asked several county officials, will the county be able to provide the flexibility that the volunteer departments currently provide? In both trainig and duty times. I have yet to recieve an answer. Secondly, I am concerned with the fate of veteran volunteers who may not make it through the application process because of their physically capabilities. They could join the auxillary, but that would be a waste of their experience. With our current system they are able to drive trucks, work pumping apparatus, and provide on-scene assistance to less experienced firefighters. In the county system, what would be their role? Another question that I have not recieved an acceptable answer to.
-Taxes...Mr. Barfield maintains that the fire tax will be raised in 2011-2012 regardless of consolidation. But to say this consolidation will not have an upfront cost is foolish. The average salary of a firefighter in NC is about $42,000. At a minimum the staffing will cost! Since the Board of Commissioners has already faced budgeting issues it is a fair to ask if now is the time for this consolidation? Maybe we should first try to minimalize the outstanding debt of about $7 million currently in our fire services budget.
-"Everyone complaining, just wait till its your house and it burns down because there isnt enough people to help. The volunteers have their hearts in the wrong place by trying to make a fuss." All I have to say is that is an inappropriate statement and, quite frankly, is your speculation at best. Please do not confuse this issue with such inflammatory remarks. Thank you!

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