Yesterday, I got my most recent reminder of the ignorance of the general public when it comes to what we do. Let me explain . . . .
Currently my fire department, is trying to get our town to purchase a new ladder truck. Our current ladder truck is a 1982 American LaFrance which has had a very successful run, but is now or course, 26 years old, and has seen a lot of miles, and fires.
The truck now has extensive rot damage, (I wish I had thought to take pictures), and the aerial device itself has mechanical problems. Also the truck has mechanical problems too. This truck in the past 18 months has been out of service a total of 5 months!!! The cost of keeping this old ladder truck certified for use is getting worse every year, not to mention the down time when the truck is out of service, and the costs of the services needed to repair it!
Our department 4 years ago requested a new ladder truck from the town, and the cost would have been $750,000 back then. It was declined. Last year it was requested again, and that same new truck would have cost $1 million, it was again declined. This year if the truck is purchased, it will cost the town $1.3 million!
Last night I attended the town meeting along with several other members of our department to show our support at the meeting while the town voted. We were there to answer questions regarding why the town needs a new ladder truck.
This is the attitude of our town:
One gentlemen in particular didn’t understand why we needed a new ladder truck. He felt that the extensive body rot was minor, and easily repairable. He also felt that if the truck was still in operating condition, then why can’t we “just use it until it dies?” He said that if we were doing our job currently, then there was no reason to spend money on something that we didn’t need!!!
During the town meeting, the chief played a 911 recording of a structure fire that happened in town during one of the periods where our ladder was down and out of service. We called for mutual aide from one of the surrounding towns for a ladder. It took 20 minutes for them to respond because they had to come from so far away. There were people in the building on the 2nd floor during the fire!
Another town resident said that they didn’t see why it was a big deal it took 20 minutes for mutual aid to respond! Do people really not understand the significance of this?!?!
Another example of complete and utter ignorance is when one gentlemen actually said to the ladder truck captain: “Let’s say I vote yes to buy this new truck, and over the next X number of year, neither myself, friends or family has a fire in their home, that would mean that, I helped vote yes to purchase something that didn’t benefit myself in any way directly or indirectly . . .why should I do that?”
These are examples of some of the attitudes in our town folk think. IS EVERYTOWN THIS BAD?!?!?!?!?!?