I’ve been pretty angry lately.
I’ve spent the past few weeks frustrated by news from across the country. It seems like every day I’ve learned of another fire department suffering debilitating budget cuts. In my corner of the country alone there are apparatus brownouts, pay cuts, layoffs, and even entire districts and departments just closing up shop. Too many good men and women are losing their jobs, or being asked to give something up (pay, benefits, etc). I’ve been very frustrated by the concept that municipalities across the country seem to think that they can rely on the fire service to shoulder the burden of fiscal problems. But it’s starting to make sense to me. It’s what we do, we give of ourselves to improve the lives of our constituents, and we do whatever we have to, because we care.
Follow my logic here.
We firefighters are problem solvers. From EMS, to Hazmat, to Tech Rescue every time a problem has arisen the fire service has found a way to mitigate it. Those who have gone before have developed tactics, equipment, and training, often at a terrible price, to fix whatever challenge was put in front of them. Without question these issues have been dumped on the lap of the fire service, and the fire service has assumed the risks, evolved, and moved on to the next task.
So it makes sense to me that cash-strapped politicians have turned to the fire service once again. Sadly, they know they can dump whatever problem they have on us, and still we will answer that bell.
It’s not right, not even close to right that they do this to us, but still it happens. Because they know we love the job. Go layoff or cut the salary of city parks workers, or water department staff, and then see if they still come to work, or return when asked, all while giving 110%,maybe some will, but not all.
So brothers, sisters, I’m sorry we have to deal with this. Keep fighting, keep answering the bell and most of all, keep the faith.