A matter of safety | AspenTimes.com

A matter of safety

As a member of the board of directors of the Basalt Fire District, I’d like to thank Councilwoman Jacque R. Whitsitt for her letter of support concerning our recent mill levy initiative. The need to adequately fund emergency services has never been greater than it is today. I would, however, like to comment on one aspect of her letter.The mill levy increase was in no way due to any mismanagement by our prior chief. In fact, it was only through his foresight and leadership that we were able to make the transition from a small rural department to a first-class organization. The real driving force for asking for this increase was the ever-increasing customer expectations for higher levels of service. As Jacque clearly pointed out, if we don’t provide fast, reliable service, then we put our customers’ lives and property at risk.In addition to our basic responsibilities for fire suppression, EMS, and fire prevention, we also handle rescues, auto extractions, swiftwater calls, hazardous material incidents, and initial attack for wildland fires. Being added, of course, are capabilities to deal with nuclear, biological and chemical threats.All of these require extensive training, modern equipment and dedicated personnel. It’s all done with only six paid staff members, 50 dedicated volunteers and the extraordinary cooperation of the other fire departments, medical community and law enforcement agencies throughout the valley.Bob Guion, Director Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District