Dear Mayor & City Manager,

Odds are at this point, as hard as we have tried, you still don't seem to understand the need for our department, YOUR fire department, to be well prepared and fully able to respond quickly when our citizens call 9-1-1 for a fire. Mr. Mayor, this has nothing to do with how many fires we have -- it has everything to do with every fire we have.

Actually, at this point, Mr. Mayor and Manager, you are probably tired of hearing our reasons why THE FIRE DEPARTMENT must be the only department that does not get cut in any area related to our ability to respond and protect our citizens. We absolutely feel that way. We are absolutely the MOST IMPORTANT service along with public safety in this community.

Mayor...especially after City Council backed down to the pressures of the Home Builders Association on residential fire sprinklers, our community needs a fully funded, staffed and trained FD more than ever!

So Mr. Mayor and City Manager, the old saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" is our next attempt to help you understand. Understand that if our community does not have an adequately trained fire department with the right number of available firefighters and an ability to arrive within minutes of a reported fire, what is worth having in the community? As one of your fellow council members recently said, if we cannot protect those who elected us, why are we here?

Sure, we may not have many fires, but when we do have one, please understand how real it can be. The below video will show you that very, very dramatically. It is very real as far as happening in our own community. And when it does, because it will, the question will be: did we have the available firefighters, the training, open firehouses and response times to assure that those citizens have a chance?

Please take a moment and watch and listen to the below video. There is every reason to believe the fire in this video can and will eventually happen in any community in the USA. The difference is, you as Mayor, you as City Manager and we as the firefighters only have ONE community to be concerned about: OURS.

As we shared with you in that recent council meeting, the FD is not very different than a good insurance policy, it is critical that we know up front what we will have covered by insurance....instead of waiting and hoping we never have a problem.

Watch It Now:

Your Fire Chief, Officers and Firefighters

(DISCLAIMER: The above letter is meant for educational purposes only. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where firefighter training, staffing and response times are adequate. Years of training required. Elected officials refusing to understand the seriousness of this issue should consider future political career related options)

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Comment by Daniel Schroeder on June 7, 2009 at 1:46am
The Fire Chief has to wear a political helmet as well as his New Yorker or Cairns, that is to be sure, but it would be refreshing indeed to see a Chief Officer that thought of the life safety of his crews and the people in his district over his/her own political and financial fortunes. It is easy to call the elected officials morons, but they are the short-timers, even if they last two or three elections! The responsibility falls squarely back on the shoulders of the one upon whom it should, the Chief. It is his responsibility to be able to effectively communicate with the elected officials, as well as the population he serves, the Federal, State, County, and Local requirements that he and they face! This is a tall task indeed, but if that Chief is willing to quit being a lone-wolf-McQuade, and toss some of his/her pride to the side for the greater good of all concerned, a wealth of resources will become immediately available to them! The Chief Officer has to set the tone of his/her department, and it will either be one that is run openly and effectively, with the give and take of many, or it will be a closed door affair, distrusting of any outsiders (and many insiders), promoting the well connected instead the the well educated, or well motivated. In the later, that Chief will say "how much" when they say "cut down", do to his/her lack of knowledge, tools, resources, or plain ol political backbone and nerve. The Former will have a myriad of people, information and tools to be able to do melee with the budget cutters and bean counters. This "Open" Chief may not stave off the budget cutting axe completely, but you can be sure of this, those budget cutting ogres may find that engaging a well planned and executed defense of the department, may be more than they want to do very often! Who knows, after 2 or 3 close encounters, they may just leave your well documented, and planned budget alone, maybe even admire it, even if they do that in the back of their envious thoughts. Chief Billy is right, the first thing that you may have to rescue is your own budget, to be able to safeguard your crews and your district. What kind of results you get will depend on you and your method of operating.
Comment by Kelly Saunders on June 6, 2009 at 10:55pm
Once again, Chief Billy makes his point & more! These morons in goverment who continue to try & save money on the backs of firefighter's are gambling with the public's & our lives.
It's easy in tough economic times to pick an easy target like the Fire Dept because they know in many cases we won't fight back. Time to change that & do what it takes to get the taxpayers behind us in support. Stand up & let people know the TRUE consquences of reduced staffing & closed Fire Stations.
Comment by Charles Jones on June 6, 2009 at 1:13pm
Some Departments might want to change the recipient to Dear Chief and Commissioners as the reduce 4 - 3 man engine or even 2 man engines and 3 man truck company.
Comment by Tom Baker on June 6, 2009 at 12:45am
Is there a College or University near your Community. My Dept, as well as several others, offer free room and a $1500.00 to any College student that is or becomes qualified thru our County to become a firefighter. He/She lives free at the station, but is required to ride the apparatus once they pass all the tests and qualifations as required. Most students are from other states attending the University of Maryland Fire Science programs.
Comment by Derek R. on June 5, 2009 at 4:15pm
Wow.....close call. Makes me think that there should be more incentives in place to bring in more volunteers to the smaller communities. Heard a call today in a few districts over. 1st response. 2nd page......nothing......then one fella radios in that he is quite a ways from there. It was a medical call..another time when time counts. Coulda been a fire as well. woudn't have been a good scene. hmmmmmmmmm.
Does anyone out there in FF land have some sort of volunteer recruitment program that maybe the smaller, less populated brigades could use? We are very fortunate here because there seems to always be someone signing up.

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