March 12th, 2004
Firefighters speak out
A number of firefighters have contacted us, concerned about the effects of Initiative 864, and asked us to help them spread their message. Initiative 864 means REAL cuts for REAL firefighters, and that’s jobs lost in an already downbeat economy. Not to mention the drop in your level of protection, would could lead to higher insurance rates. So, here’s the firefighters in their own words:
From Brandon Knopp, a King County volunteer firefighter:
It would be great to cut taxes and all. But has anyone stopped and thought about what it will do to the Fire and Police departments?
I am a volunteer fire fighter out in a rural are in King County. My Chief met with the King County Police Chiefs and Fire Chiefs, and they are all concerned about this 25% cut.
A few examples of how it would back just some of the local fire and police departments:
- Federal Way Fire Department would lose about 10 fire fighters.
- Maple Valley would lose 3 or 4.
- King County would not be able to fund King County Medic One and therefore we would not have ANY paramedics in the South King County area.
And one of bigger issues is that departments like mine would be shut down. Our district is adjacent to Maple Valley and Enumclaw.
If this 25% cut went through, Maple Valley and Enumclaw would not be able to cover our 26 square mile district. There would be no fire or aid protection in that area.
And if you look in Eastern Washington, it’s almost ALL volunteer departments So, say goodbye to our forests if they catch fire, because there won’t be anyone to put them out.
So…please, please, please take what I have said into consideration before supporting this 25% cut.
From Tim Kienitz, Clark County Fire District #6:
As a firefighter I am faced with the potential of losing my job. That in itself is a bad thing, as I have a family to support. The worst part of it is what it would do to the community that I serve.
The service of EMS and Fire protection we offer to the community would be crippled because of manpower cuts and service would suffer. I fear that because of the political climate in the country about taxes people will not understand that the money they pay goes to protect their very lives.
From Shawn, a suburban firefighter:
I am a member of a mid sized fire department with less than 50 paid employees, serving a mostly suburban community. Recently we met with our administration regarding a contingency plan in case I-864 passes. Losing revenue by cutting property taxes in our Fire District translates to laying off 15 firefighters and firefighter paramedics and closing one of our 3 fire stations.
In turn, our response times would increase and service levels would decrease to that of the early 90’s while our call volume will have doubled from the same time. I hope the voters in the state of Washington will come to realize that this initiative WILL gut our public services and our Fire Departments will lose their effectiveness in making a timely response to their emergency.
Protect your quality of life and your local community… decline to sign Initiative 864.