Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Kingdom For A Ladder Truck!

Forgive me for borrowing a line from Shakespeare for a post title but in these "lean" times it fits. The economy is all the rage now and budget cutters are gleefully looking to cut staff, stations and training. It's not much different from any other day except now they can point to Wall Street and say, "See!"

Oh the woes of budgets. Already doing more with less firefighters now must worry about the purchase of items essential to the functioning of a fire department. In this case I mean ladder trucks and coffee. (Don't worry, no one touches the coffee.)

Truck work is an under appreciated diamond. For the departments who get it ladder trucks help to prevent the spread of fire, search for victims and perform the tasks essential to life safety, incident stabilization and property conservation. Yet, if the bard were writing for the fire service he would note the absence of appreciation for truckies.

We must battle tooth and nail to preserve the basic elements of the fire service. If we fail recovery will not take place until a decade after Exxon is again posting record profits. The money is there and we must assume the position of defending the fire service. In some respects the gloom and doom is "much ado about nothing."
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  1. Ladders are expensive but if used are the way to go.

  2. I've always liked to think of them as rolling tool boxes. You never know the extra tools you're going to end up needing

  3. Your exactly right. The money is there and we have to go get it. We have to make ourselves so valuable to the area we serve, that they would never dream of cutting our budget. It's hard, but it can be done. We all like having them Truck's around when we're working a good one. But, when we're not working we need to be out in the public's eye doing the friendly firefighter, reading to children (Lewisville, Tx.) or taking care of Ms. Smith (Phoenix). I goes a long ways, that whole customer service thing (who would thought).
    Simply said, "We do not define the service, we deliver the service." The other part of getting that Truck is finding a means of funding. Departments should look at implementing impact fees, Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), or grants. In my area citizens have voted in favor of the SPLOST the past 12 years and just renewed it for another five. The great thing about SPLOST is that it has to be earmarked for captial budget projects. With securing these funds off of a 1 cent sales tax we have been able to build stations, buy pumpers and 4 of the coveted Trucks. Each area is different and will have to be researched to see what works.

    Brian W.


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