After reading the numerous errors in your article on Craig and Sherry Petersen’s plan to rebuild our fire department, I realized that someone who had actual fire and EMS experience needed to set the record straight. I’ll try to cover all the errors, but might run out of room.
We staff, and operate, four pieces of apparatus every day (three engines and a truck). Not “12 fire apparatus to one ambulance.” There are unstaffed reserve engines that allow our volunteers to respond with us to a major incident, or provide a back-up apparatus if our primary engine has a mechanical malfunction.
Our station locations were already carefully selected to be centered among all the residential and commercial properties in their respective response zones.
“Smaller, more agile, ‘ambulance-type vehicles’” will not respond more quickly than our engines because we generally maintain speeds of no more than 10-15 mph over the speed limit, even when traveling Code 3 (lights and sirens) to maintain safety. Our engines can easily attain these speeds.
I’ve been a paramedic for 20 years, and was an adjunct professor at FLC teaching the basic EMT curriculum for eight years. Your statement that “Stroke and heart attack victims require little stabilization” violates current protocols and procedures designed by emergency physicians. Every one of our firefighter-paramedics is state certified and evaluated annually by a team of doctors, nurses and paramedics. While I respect your expertise at nutrition and health insurance, I feel confident that I know a little more about how to deliver life-saving medical care. Station 84 (not 87) is 30 years old and in dire need of replacement. The estimates for construction are $3 million (conservatively estimated at $300 per square foot), not $4 million.Your statement that “when you offer people 17 days of sick time most of them take it, whether or not they’re sick” strikes me as particularly insulting. We are continuously exposed to the ill and injured as part of our duties. It’s far too common for us to contract some of the same illnesses that we treat people for. I don’t believe eight sick days a year is too much, and the insinuation that we may abuse sick leave is uncalled for.
Our firefighters receive $500 per year for uniforms. A single set of our required uniform pants and shirts costs approximately $175. This does not include belt, jacket, hat, or T-shirts. Take a look at our neighboring similarly staffed districts and you’ll find our uniform allowance is on the low end. The iPads you complained about replace older, antiquated engine mounted computers for mapping and fire pre-plans. The iPads are approximately one-quarter the cost and provide far greater capabilities. Truckee is hiring part-time firefighter-EMTs (not paramedics) with no experience required. Our firefighter-paramedics each have an average of 13 years of medical experience and 10 of firefighting experience. I could go on, but have run out of room. I encourage all your readers to vote for Hidahl and Hartley.