Monday, October 23, 2006

Montague 15 : Fire Facts

In the year to date, our volunteer fire department has attended to 59 calls, including several house or other structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, ambulance assists, the fire at Angelo's restaurant and a propane explosion.

Our fire chief has had a meeting, training session, fire investigation, or other duty to attend to on about one day in every three, if not more.

Our firefighters have received 16 training sessions, including two full weekends of training, on everything from water rescue to the use of breathing apparatus, to several live burn exercises.

Think about it... 59 times in 9 months; an average of 6 times a month they turn out for an emergency situation. Not knowing what they're going to face, at any time of the day or night. Not just them, but their families. 59 times this year, a wife, son, daughter, niece, nephew has watched their man leave the house, also not knowing what awaits, and with the fear that, although very unlikely, he may not come back.

Never mind one specific incident, turned into a political football. Stop and think for a moment of what it would be like to be one of those families. We should all know more about what the firefighters do for us and we should all be grateful for each and every one of those 59 times they have turned out.

How do I know all this? I had to request copies of the Fire Activity Reports from the township office. Why aren't these reports published? This is the information that should really be getting out there about our Volunteer Fire Department. This is the work they do for us. Why hide it away? I think this should be proud public knowledge, and I would also suggest a public demonstration of the department's capabilities, maybe once a year.

Let's not leave it at platitudes like 'we have a wonderful fire department.' That doesn't do these men and their families justice. Tell the residents exactly what the firefighters do for them.