First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish – A Commentary

Only the Taxpayers Are Being Fooled on This One

The Braun Ambulance company (a manufacturer) has this photo of Volusia County, Florida's new rigs on their Facebook page:

Yes, those are fire engine-ambulances. They have 500gpm pumps and 300-gallon tanks. Oh, and CAFS, of course. Because what would a "forward thinking" fire department Public Protection Fire Service be without CAFS. The "forward thinking" quote is from the company rep defending these apparatus from Facebook commenters who aren't so easily duped as the public whose services are being being cut in half. Like any good stooge, he says the citizens will face no reduction in service.

This is simply not true. That the citizens will receive the same level of service is not true. That the apparatus are just as capable as any other ambulance or Class A pumper is not true. That these monstrosities show some special attention to the future is not true. These are nothing but gimmicks used by the penny-wise and pound foolish administrators of a local government abdicating its duty to provide for the public safety. I suppose it is true that these apparatus make for a more efficient use of resources than having separate ambulances and pumpers. There will be no lazy parasitic firemen lounging around waiting for a fire in this Public Protection department. There will also be no firefighters making aggressive and fast interior attacks (300 gallons is a lot less water than I have to work with on my quint!) or addressing your rescue or fire needs when your neighbor has a sniffle. Of course, we've recently been told that forward-thinking fire people shouldn't be making interior attacks anyway, so I guess this might be fine.

Don't get me wrong about EMS. I am 100% in favor of fire-based EMS and believe that we need to step up our EMS provision so it's as important as firefighting. But that means that I believe we should raise both to a level of excellence, not eliminate any semblance of respect for the exigencies of both. If fire protection matters and EMS matters then these apparatus represent a monstrous falsehood perpetrated against a public that is not getting what it thinks it is paying for.

And don't get me wrong about this question either: Why do we have fire services?

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Braun Ambulance Co. WEBSITE.
Volusia County Fire Services WEBSITE.

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