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THE OL' BALL AND CHAIN - October FE Magazine Illustration

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Comment by Bobby Halton on November 3, 2010 at 11:31am
that seems to be a very common problem in the fire service today I hear a lot of chiefs say that if they can't get it via a grant then it's not going to happen. Some of this is because the city leaders believe that the grant process absolves them for the responsibility of providing fire protection to the community and transfers it to the federal government. There could be nothing further from the truth. The grant was simply created to provide funding to organizations whose communities could not otherwise support mission-critical equipment, training and other support. The grant was never meant to be the default to replace local funding. In these very trying times one of the things we are seeing is that fire service leaders are taking extraordinary steps to communicate to the community what levels of service they will be able to support given the funding they are getting locally. We are rediscovering our ability to communicate with their communities and win their support. We are also learning to listen to our communities and provide our best advice when it is apparent that the level of support they are extending this the best they can do given today's economic climate. The upside for all of this is that we are America and that we understand that the free exchange of goods and services that American capitalism is going to again make us the most vibrant and dynamic economy in the world. What we are seeing now is our first brush with dynamic complexity in the economic world. But we are learning you will not see people leveraging debt and the way they did with the home loans. In the meantime much of what we have done will have to be accomplished differently we need to find sustainable revenue streams from within our state and local governments. We need to continue our federal grant program so that organizations that have no other alternatives will have the safety sensitive mission-critical equipment and training that they need.
Comment by GREGORY F. BROUGHTON on November 3, 2010 at 11:06am
Comment by Paul Combs on November 1, 2010 at 6:24pm
I totally agree, Chief! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Comment by John K. Murphy on November 1, 2010 at 5:58pm
Paul - a great illustration. We need to cut the chain of dependency and start to look to other funding sources that may include fee for service (not subscription services), elevate fire departments from a junior taxing status to a senior taxing status like schools or roads, look at attaching our funding sources to driver license fees, home and vehicle insurances and other forms of funding. The other issues placing financial pressure of fire departments are the numerous special levies that succeed or fail on the whim of the voter. Many departments are reducing services due to a lack of funding. What if you call 911 and nobody shows up? What a sad day for the nation’s fire services and America. The feds are not the answer.
Comment by Brad Hoff on October 25, 2010 at 5:42pm
Free money is like crack to an addict! Can't never get enough of a fix! It's great when it goes towards keeping us safer...the funds that is! Never enough to help everybody...that's the change we have been waiting for!

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