As a long-time supporter of the FIRE Act program, I fear for its existence. I see it drifting away from its roots. It is my belief that forces are at work which (who) do not give one hoot in Hell for the fire service. They see the FIRE Act as just one more pool of federal money that can be grabbed and used in the war against terrorism. My friends, I am sick to death of hearing about the war on terror.
How many fires have you battled, versus how many terror attacks have you encountered? The same holds true with extrication calls and community service responses. These folks who would take our money miss the basic facts of the case. If we are trained and equipped to do our everyday tasks, and if we are part of a regional approach to delivering our services, then we will be ready for the terrorists if they choose to try us on for size again.
If we are trained, equipped, and ready to operate in our own world, then we will be able to step up to the plate for those major incidents wherein we must come to the aid of the federal government. Maybe I am still naïve after nearly four decades in the fire service, but that does not matter. That is just who I am.
I believe in the fire service. I believe that there are a lot of really good people out there trying very hard to protect their little corner of our nation. These are the people I hope to meet on the road trip. Some of the places that I will visit are little more than crossroads where a few people have managed to acquire a fire truck.
There is a place in Southern Indiana where a community of 450 people received a grant. Another small town of 200 people in Southern Illinois also received a boost from the infusion of grant money. Then there is a place in Kentucky that is so small I had a hard time finding it on the map. My friends, these are the people who need the FIRE Act.
My promise to you is simple. I am going to meet fellow members or the American fire service that have received FIRE Act assistance and report my findings to you. There will also be a small number who have yet to receive a grant. I want to present both sides to you. I make this promise to you based upon my belief that I have the necessary time and talents to do the job. Thanks to a number of generous people I also believe the resources will be in place.
Let me challenge you to tighten up on the number of promises you make. Let me ask you to avoid saying the popular thing, when the truth should be used. Above all sort out the promise merchants in your life and give them a wide berth. Just a few thoughts from a chubby guy from Jersey who has been burned a time or two.