What Are These Signs About?
You may have noticed a new sign that is in front of Station #2 on Hwy 30 and Station #3 on Byrnesville Road. So what are their purpose? They actually were put up for a couple of reasons.
First, we want the public to realize that we are a "combination department" consisting of volunteer firefighters and full time firefighters. We have found that a lot of our district residents have just assumed that all our firehouses are staffed 24 hours a day with full time staff. That IS NOT the case. Our only station manned 24 hours is Station #1 on Cedar Hill Road, and that is with only two personnel. Stations #2 and #3 are only manned Monday to Friday from 7am to 5pm. The rest of the time we rely on volunteers to respond if they are available.
We currently have about 30 volunteers on our roster. When a call is dispatched we rely on them to respond from wherever they are to the unmanned station to respond with the truck. On average we have about 2-6 volunteers that show up when needed. Unfortunatly, in todays day and time, people are very busy. That may be with multiple jobs, family priorities, or going to school. Most families today, unlike in the past, have both spouses working full time jobs. Because of this, it is very hard to keep and maintain volunteers, as well as it is hard for those that are volunteering to just stop what they are doing to come to the firehouse. We depend on our volunteers a great deal. Any time that they can spare for the department is very much appreciated. After all, they do it for free.
Since these two stations are not manned 24 hours a day, we don't want citizens to think they they can just stop by the firehouse for help at anytime, or that when they call 911 that a truck will immediatly be responding from that engine house. The other sad reality of the situation is that the District is being faced with major financial issues. This is because of declining revenue and increasing expenses over the past several years. Our district is very conservative with our tax dollars. We have cut expenses almost every where we can to deal with this situation. However, the next step may be to start cutting full time personnel. THESE SIGNS MAY PERMANENTLY SAY "CLOSED" IF THIS HAPPENS.
How can we keep this from happening? Unfortunatly, the District can not just raise product prices like a merchant would do in this situation. We do not bill for services received whenever we respond. Our services are only paid for through tax dollars. Because of this, the District will be asking taxpayers for an increase in tax revenue in April. Voters will see "PROPOSITION SAFETY" on the April 7th ballot. This is our only answer to keep from going backwards.
Lastly, we want to educate District residents that sould we be forced to make these cuts, you can expect to see a substancial raise in your property insurance rates. Your insurance rates are mostly rated on how good your fire protection is. If you want to see how this will affect you, call your insurance company and ask them what type of premimum increase you would see if your fire protection ISO rating raised. Also, make sure that they are charging you correctly for how we are currently rated. We have found many residents that are being over charged. If you need help with your rating or have any other questions about this give us a call at 636-285-3345.