Mutual Aid Fire

Keep firefighters at work!
August 18, 2009, 9:12 pm
Filed under: Opinion

Letters / Chronicle-Tribune / Marion, Indiana
Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:06 AM EDT
Keep firefighters at work

Becoming a professional firefighter was a dream come true, as I relentlessly pursued this vision until it manifested itself in reality. When I first interviewed for the job I was told that it wasn’t a lucrative occupation, was physically and psychologically stressful and hard on marriages. The Chief stated that the reward comes from saving a life and serving the community. I was also told that it was the most secure job that I could ever have, as nobody had ever been laid-off in the history of the Marion Fire Department. Six months later I received a lay-off notice from the Assistant Chief and my world came tumbling down. Two other probationary Firefighters ( Larry Emmons and Fred McMullen ) were laid-off also.

I was in shock and disbelief, as I had a wife and three young children to support, in a tough economic climate. One of the happiest days of my life occurred a year later when the firefighters union president called me and advised me I was being called back to service. It is my hope that none of the young men currently on the M.F.D. will lose their jobs, as I would not want them to have to suffer through what I did in 1981.

If cutbacks in manpower are necessary, then perhaps this can be achieved through attrition. Ideally, additional sources of funding would be identified and used for public safety. This may require some thinking outside of the box, but anything is possible if the desire is strong enough.

Firefighters serve the public not only at structure fires, but respond to water related emergencies, medical calls, hazardous materials spills and leaks, vehicular extrications and numerous other calls. Teaching cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and first aid to the public, fire safety to area schools, performing business inspections with pre-fire planning, and conducting fund raising events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, are just a few of the ways that Firefighters reach out to meet the needs of the community. We can’t turn our backs to these young men as they would gladly give us the shirts off of theirs.

Brian P. Swanner, Gas City