The fire department, as with any of the other town departments, is an essential and integral part of any municipality. All departments must measure their productivity; water department delivers water, police department patrols the town and, when necessary, makes arrests and enforces the state laws and town ordinances, and then there is the fire department. Firefighters measure their productivity by how well they stop the forward progress of a fire, but what of the fire marshal? The fire marshal’s productivity should be measured by how many fires he/she prevents on a daily basis, which is almost incalculable. This position is also a link, or even a liaison, between the fire department and other town departments and community groups. Payson has an adopted fire code, it should be the Payson Fire Department to enforce that code. I was the first fire marshal for the Town of Payson and am satisfied, at that time, that I had the support of both the town and the firefighters. To contract out will, unintentionally, keep the firefighters in the dark about some of the specific hazards they might encounter during an emergency, whether fire or medical. There were some in the town that did not agree with the enforcement of the fire code, but the job, while thankless at many times, is satisfying in knowing safety for the firefighters and the community was and is the first priority. I would urge Mayor Evans and the town council to review other options and maintain the position of fire marshal.
Jack E. Babb