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Back in 2006, Jack and I saw people whose fortunes were changed. However there are still those who are seeking to carve up the FIRE Act money to suit their own needs. I am not happy with several of the moves that are being made at the national level, but am powerless to do much other than shine the bright light of public awareness onto the things that are happening.
Let me also make you aware of the fact that there are those people who have said the program should not have been created in the first place. Apparently, these folks do not get around much. Let me assure you that I have taken a certain amount of flack for my support and promotion of the FIRE Act program. But I am a big boy. I can take the heat.
However, Jack and I saw the results of this outstanding program at the grassroots level. We saw people who were sharing turnout gear and driving vehicles that should have been in the junkyard a long time ago. We saw people who did not have a sufficient number of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to mount any sort of interior fire attack. And we saw people who were able to provide a better level of training thanks to the programs and equipment funded by the FIRE Act.
Sad to say, but the fire service in America is taken for granted by the vast majority of the citizens in our nation. There are administrators who think that sending two old guys out in a red pickup truck is adequate fire protection. Oh, people will praise the daylights out of us on the surveys that ask people about their opinions of their fire department. Unfortunately, when we ask them to fund our operations, or volunteer to join with us in the delivery of our critical infrastructure protective service, we get an overwhelmingly cold shoulder. Worse yet, when they need us, they are all over us like a cheap suit if we fail to be on location in 45 seconds.
The problem here is that when I write for Firehouse.com, I am in fact engaging in that ancient and honorable art known in religious circles as “preaching to the choir.” Except that many within the choir are not reading off the same sheet of music that you and I are using. I promise I will keep writing to direct us all to a common ground for this battle.
Let’s get together
There you have it. I believe in the value of the FIRE Act and it is my intention to travel to the middle of our great nation to meet with fire departments that have achieved success through the receipt of FIRE Act grants. I am working on planning this trip a lot sooner than the last one. We threw that one together in about 45 days. This time around, I want to plan things a little bit better.
If you want me to visit with you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also looking for support from you and your organizations whenever possible. I can assure you that any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. n