Monday March 10, 2014
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Not to be a fear-monger but, I do hope and pray the Town Council understands the potential consequences of eliminating the Fire Marshal position. The potential for injury and death will increase without a "town conscious" to assure safety throughout the year.
The building department and town engineer only sees potential hazards during plan reviews and the respective inspections. The Fire Marshal would see potential hazards throughout the year, while shopping, etc. The other adopted codes do include some issues found in the fire code, but not all.
In our litigious society my concerns are for all citizens that visit all communities in Arizona, including Payson.
I recently submitted a comment asking the 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 back-bone 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 carrers 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.
Firefighters/Police Officers, Fire Prevention programs, Fire/Police Chiefs, and Administrative personnel are essential components to maintain the community peace of mind.
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 2 or more departments.
Thank you for your time - Respectfully Jack Babb
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, 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. - Respectfully, Jack E. Babb
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