Bad call

Criticize training expenses maybe, but not fire department calls

You don’t support your local firefighters at your own peril.

It was a passing remark at the most recent Qualicum Beach council meeting by councillor Bill Luchtmeijer. He wondered aloud why the local fire department is responding to so many calls — all in the context of looking at making operational budget cuts this year. He questioned if responding to so many calls was necessary.

Emphatically, the answer has to be yes.

Question the cost of their training destination decisions, certainly, but to question whether those calls are worth the cost? That’s just too much.

Ask anyone who has had need of first responders, or for a rescue on the highway, or when they are facing a fire of any size, in any of the area communities, if they think responding to calls is important.

Their answer would certainly be an emphatic yes as well.

Just ask yourself — would you want to be on the receiving end (or non-receiving end in this case) of a fire department forced with having to make the decision whether the call you or a loved one just made, is worth it?

No fire department should be put into that position. It’s inhumane.

The community had made the decision to make local firefighters first responders.  These are, for the most part, dedicated volunteers willing to help people in some of the worst possible situations in their lives.

People in need of that help do not want to wonder whether anyone will come fast enough, because of a political decision to reduce emergency service.

A municipality’s prime task is to keep its citizens safe and all of council would do well to remember this. So, let’s hope that this comment was made in passing and it stops there.

Municipalities must make sure emergency and safety services are run well and are able to respond quickly, each and every time they are called.

To do anything else would be to place people into harm’s way, if only to save a few dollars.

— editorial by Steven Heywood


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