A comment was made regarding the general publics' lack of knowledeg in reference to how a fire department is operated. I hate to admit it...but I agree with the comment. I've been a career union firefighter/paramedic for 23 years and I've come to realize that the majority of the lay public has no clue as to how we operate outside of fire suppression. What's my point you say? Well...letting the public decide for themselves what is best for them may not be the best option. It really sounds like ya'll have a turf was brewing. Consolidating the fire services can be the best option if it is done correctly. Consolidation does not always mean a lower ISO rating though. Ask yourselves these questions. When or if this consolidation occurs will every fire station be staffed with at least one engine company with four multi-roll (firefighter/EMT or Paramedic) personnel each (national standard by the way...see NFPA 1710 and 1500)24/7? Is there a reliable water supply throughout the district (hydrants)? Is everyone-including the volunteers- trained the same ie; NC Firefighter II-EMTB-NC Haz. Mat. Ops.-NC Rescue Tech. etc.? How many annual training hours will each firefighter be required to have? How new is your apparatus? Is the appropriate equipment carries on the apparatus? What are the average response time for various alarm assigmments? In otherwords, how long does it take to assemble 16 firefighters (not including a command officer) at a simple residential structure fire at any given time of day? That is a national standard by the way! These are all things that ISO looks at. If you want improved services...it is going to cost money...don't let anyone fool you.
Now then....volunteers....don't get your panties in a wad. Look at Prince George's County Fire and Prince William County Fire. Those are county run fire departments that took over the volunteer fire departments. The volunteers still exist there and have there autonomy. So as far as I am concerned,your arguments have no merrit. What are you afraid of....training. If you have not gone through an accredited fire academy or received you NC Firefighter II License/Certification and your EMT then you have no business on the fire ground....you are a liability.
I know you are all afraid of big government but what you are talking about is small potatos compared to the big picture (Federal Goverment). Example: the US Capitol Police Department....one building...upaward of 1500 police officers! Heard it from the mounth of an employee myself. Consolidation of fire services is nothing new in this country. Don't be afraid of change. Just ask some questions? Just ask the right people! Just food for thought!
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