I recently submitted a comment asking the Payson Town Council to consider other options and maintain the fire marshal’s position. Now I am asking the town council to reconsider eliminating any emergency response personnel.
I spent over 28 years in the fire service and, while the pay was not great, I received the satisfaction of having performed services to the communities I’ve served.
I have worked for various fire service agencies from primarily dependent on the reserve program to a primarily full-time fire service agency. In all cases, the backbone of these programs relied on the reserve program for maintaining a service the community might not otherwise receive.
The reserves offer themselves to their community to aid those in need, family, friends and neighbors. They provide a valuable service, many times with little or no pay, for different community programs, such as town Christmas festivals, etc. Most of all, the reserves are trained and prepared to move into a full-time position, should a position open. Many, if not all, of the current full-time firefighters began their careers as a reserve.
I do understand that unfunded mandates force financial constraints on the communities, but the final outcome should be “What is best for the community?”
The emergency response personnel — law, fire, EMS — should be hands off when budget cuts are considered. I again implore the council to not consider cutting the budgets for emergency personnel and maybe explore combining the positions of other departments, i.e., one secretary for two or more departments.
former Payson fire marshal