Monday, November 28, 2016

Salisbury Fire Service Agreement Discussion.



I asked around various fire department members to get an idea of their thoughts on the fire service agreement discussion. The following are bits and pieces from those conversations..

My thoughts on the fire service: It’s a mess. The issues aren’t just here, but everywhere across the country. It’s not just about the $1.1 million dollar gap between the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County. Volunteers are disappearing because of the economy. Gone are the days of leaving work when an alarm comes in. They need to work to make money to support themselves and their families. What happens when a fire unit doesn’t respond from the station that was alerted? That station gets 8 minutes to respond, and if they don’t, another fire station gets alerted for that alarm. The same goes for ambulance calls, except they get 6 minutes to respond. You’ve gone from alerting one group of volunteers to alerting a different group of volunteers.

 The City of Salisbury is its own beast. It’s a combination department consisting of career firefighters and volunteer firefighters. A combination department is the only way that it can survive. Station 16 on Cypress Street houses a 24-hour staffed paid crew, and stations 1 and 2 staff a paid crew from Monday through Friday 7am-5:30pm. Who is expected to cover stations 1 and 2 on weeknights and weekends? It used to be the volunteers, but now the volunteer staffing has gotten so bad that they are failing to respond about half the time, and it was forcing the 24-hour crew from Cypress Street to cover the alarms. Now, Station 16 gets alerted for every alarm in station 1 and 2’s district on weeknights and weekends unless that respective station notifies the on duty Assistant Chief that they have a crew. The Salisbury Fire Department needs two things. More career firefighters and more volunteer firefighters. It’s nearly impossible to hire more paid firefighters. Why? There are no funds. Where could they get the extra funding to hire more paid firefighters to respond to fire alarms and ambulance calls in the city and county? The $1.1 million dollar gap in funding between the city and the county.

It is interesting to see how Mr. Culver handles this situation, because he seems to want to figure this out. Actions do speak louder than words, so time will tell. Maybe Jim Ireton knew exactly what he was doing when he threatened the “nuclear option,” because it certainly seemed to push the right buttons and start a movement. Also, the county does fund the 14 volunteer fire corporations in the county, which includes the 3 volunteer corporations in the city. This figure is about $100,000 per station each year. I wonder if there is any intent to offset the gap by cutting out the $300,000 earmarked for the 3 city volunteer corporations. Again, time will tell on this, and the ball is in Mr. Culver’s hands. At the end of the day, more money equals faster service to city and county residents. .

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

2 thoughts... I read the presentation. The $1.1 million is in addition to the almost $900,000 already paid. The total is $2 million. Also, with Ireton's antics, nothing happened. Nobody did anything. Once he was gone all parties sat down and agreed to a joint agreement. Shocker, right?

Anonymous said...

Just how does more money mean faster service?

Anonymous said...

Be careful you will cause Irenton to have a "hissy fit".....he'll need a pacifier and coloring book!!!!!!!! Ha Ha Ha

Anonymous said...

So if the County is supposed to pay Salisbury for the "out-of-the-City" calls, will the County also pay Willards, Pittsville, Delmar, Fruitland, Hebron, Mardela, and Sharptown some additional amount for "out-of-the-City" calls in their respective towns??? It would seem only fair.

Anonymous said...

JT you have it right. If Ireton hadn't pushed the envelope and continue to do it this would have gone nowhere. Bob said he would pay for it. Let's see if he does. One day he says he will and the next he says he won't.

Anonymous said...

What also needs to be noted is the WASTE of funds by all fire departments. This is not a secret.