First off I would like to say that I am not a member of the Leland Fire Department, however, I do have a strong knowledge of this particular situation. I have read this story and all the comments, and there is alot more to this story than what has been said. First off Mr. Farris is not going to say anything that is going to portray the Town of Leland in a bad way, and Chief Grimes can make factual statements (which he has) but has to be cautious of creating an adversarial relationship between the Town and the Fire Department.
The true story is that when all the developers were asking the Town of Leland to annex theit neighborhoods into the town, several (Mallory Creek, Westport, Brunswick Forest, Stoney Creek, Snee Farms, Grayson Park and portions of Magnolia Greens and Waterford) were located more than the allowed distance from the Leland Fire Department and therefore the residents in these areas were going to be classified as a 10 on the Rating Response Schedule (RRS) through the North Carolina Department of Insurance, this would have the same effect as not having any fire protection and would cause the homeowners annual fire inurance premiums to go up dramatically (just ask any insurance agent what the difference between a rating of 6 and 10 is and you will see the significance of this). This situation was created by the then seated Leland Town Council, not the fire department. The town had to make a decision on whether to let a large portion of their residents be moved to a class 10 rating or to fix the situation that they created by investing in the fire department in the way of buildings and fire trucks, which they did and as a resident of one of the above mentioned neighborhoods, I am glad that they did. There are numerous departments within the region that operate either as totally volunteer or in some fashion of combination career and volunteer and do not have their stations manned at all times if at all, some of them have stations that are larger and cost more that the Leland station from this news report, however, I don't see stories concerning their operations (Southport, Tri-Beach, BSL). Would I like to see the station manned by career personnel at some point? Yes, I think it was built with that concept in mind and as the area begins to grow again, it will be manned. Do I understand the economy has restricted this fire department's growth as well as most fire departments within the area? Yes, Leland along with most of the fire departments in the area have been restricted in growth due to the changing economy. Would I rather see the current staff split so that their is someone at the station? No, I think letting the volunteers from this area respond to the Westport station to suplement the full crew that is coming on the other engine makes sense and lets them bring a fully functioning crew to all calls within the district.
As for the cost of the station, yes a cheaper station could have been built, however, when the land is donated by a developer of one of the communities, you have to meet the architectural requirements that go along with that community and why build a station that meets todays minimal requirements of just housing trucks when it is a known fact that the area will see growth that will require the career personnel in the future. And as for the BSL fireman and the others who are making negative comments regarding a rating of 6 for the Leland Fire Rescue Department, your comments go to show your lack of understanding of how the RRS system works. If Leland did not have a large commercial density and was strictly houses such as BSL, then they would most likely have a rating of 4 like BSL and with the current stations and equipment, would probably have a 2 or a 3. However, when you add the commercial businesses, multiple industrial parks and large churches to the mix, a rating of 6 is a good rating and I am sure that if any of the departments had anything close to the amount of commercial density that Leland has and answered the number of calls that are reviewed in the RRS, they would be happy and gracious to have a rating of 6.
Leland Fire is a good deparment, yes they have struggled over the years, but at this time, they have a good career program and a strong volunteer base for both the Fire and EMS divisions of their department and I am happy to have them protect me and my family.
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