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Thirty Days ~ Three Sundays

April 17, 2011

Third Sunday Fire

Stafford County Firefighters have responded to thirty fires over the past thirty days. The majority of these calls lasted over one hour in length. Simple math gives you the number of hours firefighters have worked.

On two particular days – both Sundays – firefighters were out on fires for over seven hours straight. Then, today – Sunday – that cycle continued. Four more hours. Three consecutive Sundays.

Our Dispatchers took over two hundred calls from those requesting to burn during this same thirty days. Some, when told they can’t burn (because of weather conditions) take their frustrations out on the Dispatcher. Dispatchers are yelled at and treated disrespectfully.

You might say, “Well, that’s their job (both firefighters and dispatchers).”

First, firefighters in Stafford County are solely volunteers. These dedicated professionals give their time for a small monetary stipend. They certainly don’t do what they do for the money.

The calls come in round the clock. Just last week, Stafford County firefighters were out several times between midnight and three in the morning. When the burning party for one of these fires was requested to come to the scene – he simply refused to bother a good night’s sleep.

Firefighter’s take time away from their personal employment when the emergency happens during the work day. If they are self-employed, then the loss is on them. If they work for another, then the loss is on their employer.

And, never forget that sometimes our firefighters give the ultimate price for your protection – their life – as did Dennis Simmons two years ago.

Next, our dispatchers, who operate the communications center with a grand total of “1” person. This one person handles emergency and non-emergency calls for the entire county. Not just fire. Not just ambulance. Not just law enforcement. No, they handle it all.

Dispatchers may earn a salary, but they draw a fraction of what a dispatcher in a bigger city makes. And, they handle a far wider range of duties.

We must do what we can to reduce the number of out-of-control fires – for our firefighters and our dispatchers.

Stand by for what that will be.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anita Meschberger permalink
    April 18, 2011 2:30 am

    Amen! to the article you wrote and very well put.

    • Anita Meschberger permalink
      April 18, 2011 2:37 am

      The article concerning the Thirty Days/Three Sundays was very well put and I appreciated your comments on control burns when they get out of control. Good luck on a solution.

      • April 18, 2011 2:46 am

        Thanks Anita. I believe that every problem has a solution. But, this isn’t a simple problem. I’ve visited with a number of firefighters that have a better understanding of the problem. With their help we’ll come up with some ideas of how to maybe not eliminate, but certainly lessen the problem.

    • December 27, 2011 4:08 pm

      Thank you Anita. Everyone at Stafford Hospital was so good to this couple. And, they appreciated every bit of it.

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