It seems like no city or town within the U.S. is safe from money trouble. People in the private sector have been and continue to get laid off by the tens of thousands. The fire service is another group that apparently seems like the sacrificial lamb. When budget directors, Mayors and councils want to save money, who is getting laid off, browned out, fire companies closed, staff decreased, civilian positions eliminated? The fire service. Who is suffering besides the firefighters and their families? The public they are supposed to serve. Increased response times, inadequate manpower on the first alarm, bad feelings and hostility. During the Bi-Centennial in 1976, there was a contest of firehouse apparatus doors with paintings depicting patriotic scenes. There was an old fire house in Brooklyn, NY for Engine 206 before they moved to a new location. The front door of Engine 206 had a painting of three revolutionary war soldiers with the fife, drum and American flag. The saying above the painting was “200 years and still minuteman”. Despite reduced tax revenues, some politicians think it is ok for firefighters to arrive a little later, travel a further distance with fewer personnel. My first borough administrator said you can never decrease your response time as a volunteer department. We’ve been preaching seconds count in a fire since Ben Franklin but apparently today that doesn’t matter anymore. The politicians have altered the physics of fire. It is tough to say but I hope it isn’t their house we are responding to or their car accident or their heart attack. That would be a different story. The people who are going to get hurt and it is bound to happen somewhere across the country is that a firefighter will lose his life because of stress or over work because of the increased workload. For all the programs the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has instituted trying to reduce firefighter deaths, this budget crisis have set the fire service back for years. They may never recover. The way some of these municipalities run their finances, if these cities and towns were like you and me, many of them would be out of business. All the money the stimulus package was supposed to provide, where is it? They say only a portion has been allotted so far. Keep giving billions to foreign countries many who mess with us all the time. How about providing the right amount of funds for what is truly needed in the U. S.? Disperse the money here in the good old USA. Show me the money.