On Thursday August 22nd 2013, Waterous Company was pleased to host the 2013 Minnesota Home Day.
With sponsor support from Rosenbauer-America, Physio Control, Image Trend, Emergency Apparatus Maintenance, Foam Pro and the Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association, the vision for the 2013 Minnesota Home Day was to simply bring together the triad that represents the Minnesota fire service: Minnesota’s Fire Chiefs, Government Leadership and Industry Professionals.
Together we took aim at “Unifying the Voice for the Minnesota Fire Service” to communicate and learn the changing landscapes that affects our Home Town Heroes and their effectiveness to answer the call.
In conjunction with the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI) and the FAMA/FEMSA (Fire Apparatus Manufacturers Association/Fire and Emergency Manufacturers and Services Association) ‘Hill Day’ activities were held this past April in Washington, D.C. Industry professionals are encouraged to hold ‘Home Day’ activities to reinforce and validate the messages delivered to Congress and Senate on issues that are impeding the fire service and industry.
For example: The Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (HR 933) funded the (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) AFG program at a level of $337.5 million, far less than the demonstrated need and a 17 percent decrease from FY 2011 funding level of $405 million.
Compared to FY 2009 funding ($565 million), this year's funding level represents a 40 percent cut in this important program. Further cuts in the AFG program would leave communities and their first responders short changed as local governments continue to struggle with their capital and general fund budgets.
Additionally, local governments reported ending balances, or "reserves," which declined by over 25 percent in four years. Confronted with these pressures and conditions, local governments are reducing personnel commitments, delaying capital and infrastructure projects, and cutting local services.
These local government fiscal conditions have coincided with significant cuts in the AFG program referenced above. Our keynote speaker, Jerry Rosendahl Minnesota State Fire Marshal, stated “citizens and elected officials need to become more aware of their fire department’s organization and needs.”
Budget issues are affecting our firefighter’s ability to be well-trained and well-equipped to handle the emergencies in our communities. Furthermore, he states the fire departments are left to respond to the community needs at the same high level of expectation even though resources have been reduced.
In Minnesota, we need “to make sure that a balance of support and resources from Federal, State, and Local levels continues to exist.” Here in Minnesota there are currently 784 fire departments, with over 21,000 firefighters 90 percent of which are volunteer/part-time.
Revolutionizing firefighting since 1886, Waterous has been manufacturing the most reliable, performance-enhancing pumps, power take-offs, valves and hydrants the fire service industry has to offer. Based out of South Saint Paul, Minnesota Waterous manufactures its complete product line in the USA.
For more information about Waterous, visit www.waterousco.com.