Letter: Support the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District
For the past 10 years, the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District has put an enormous amount of effort and expense in building a first-class staff of firefighter/EMT/paramedic. This group of individuals, most of which are former volunteers, are highly trained and motivated to provide the very best quality of care for this community. These people respond to all manner of calls for emergency services from emergency medical calls, forest fire, swift-water rescue and everything in between. They make life-saving decisions every day. They also are required to do janitorial tasks around the station, such as cleaning toilets and mopping floors. It is a thankless job that goes on night and day. I am not sure many people understand the work hours these people put in; There are three shifts that work on 48 hours rotating shifts to cover 365 days a year. That means that a full 1⁄3 of the year these people are away from their families, holidays included.
If further cuts are required due to a shrinking budget, the district likely will lose some of these people forever. It could take ten years to rebuild the staff once property values rise. This potential reduction in staff could mean that many of the improvements to the Emergency Medical Service, the Paramedic and Advanced Life Support programs and improved response times to calls will be lost. I want lower taxes — everybody does — but there are choices to be made and consequences to those choices. Unfortunately, the district finds itself in the current budget problem because they do their job very well. The public never hears about all the fire the district puts out because they are kept small and not news worthy. If another county road 100 fire had happened last year I am sure the mill levy increase would have passed last fall. Don’t wait until it’s too late to support the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District.
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