Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Service Providers make up the majority of personnel who deliver quality services to the citizens of this Country. Why isn’t this product good enough for those who live in urban areas? Elected officials in urban areas struggle to maintain budgets and want to violate long-standing agreements with retirees by diminishing pension obligations and hire high paid fire personnel they can’t afford when it would be cheaper to implement a supplement force to absorb some of the costs. Using volunteers can help bring balance to the system of providing fire and life safety while maintaining and even growing a paid service.
Having a paid service provides a stability that cannot be replaced by volunteers however, a volunteer force can allow administrators to increase service during peak times and expand services during non-peak times which can allow for training activities or moving resources to critical areas that need more resources. Elected officials in urban areas are not thinking “outside of the box” and taking advantage of resources that are time tested and effective in most areas of the nation. Citizens don’t care if a person is paid to perform life saving services or if they are volunteer. Citizens want a service that is reliable and effective.
Some jurisdictions turn to private companies to provide these critical life saving services which is very short sighted. Eventually those private companies raise fees comparable to paid government workers and the jurisdiction cannot respond in a timely manner to convert back to more reliable government personnel. In the meantime the focus on customer service is lost and nobody wants to talk about the loss of life that could be avoided if the proper resources where in place. It is up to the citizens who don’t always understand the issues to pressure their elected officials to take a balanced approach to providing public safety services. Until someone “important” dies the long-term health of the citizens is at risk and they are the casualty of competing priorities. Saving money becomes the priority or securing the union support for elections, rather than a well thought out plan for future sustainment of fire and life safety services.
If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees or community checkout my website http://www.ejones224.moonfruit.com (Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants) and contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.