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It seems to me that the recession warning is clear for the fire-rescue service. You cannot count on the federal programs for anything and the major lobbying effort has to be focused on local government. Put your energy into getting whatever you can in the competition for every tax dollar. You can be sure that the police and the schools will be grabbing their share and more. The same applies for any state aid that's available to assist local fire departments. And, beware of any government scheme to "borrow" money that's earmarked for fire-rescue programs or pensions, but get's "temporarily" diverted to other priorities. Fight that one of with all the strength you can muster - it's about as trustworthy as a floating-rate mortgage.
HAL BRUNO, a FirehouseÂ® contributing editor, retired as political director for ABC News in Washington and served almost 40 years as a volunteer firefighter. He is a director of the Chevy Chase, MD, Fire Department and recently retired as chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.