Grand Forks Fire Rescue is looking to purchase a new ladder truck, which could be in the neighbourhood of $1 million.
Some in the area may cringe at the proposed cost but spending to the limit (or at least close to the limit) is to the benefit of not only the people and homeowners in the area but to the firefighters as well, who are mainly volunteers, although they receive a small stipend.
Volunteers may have recently received benefits from the department but it is still an extremely dangerous position.
The number of volunteers in the Grand Forks area is the stuff of legends – many organizations would not function without the aid of volunteers – but the volunteer firefighters are different.
When talking about the impending purchase of the new vehicle, Grand Forks Fire Chief Dale Heriot said that he didn’t know of another volunteer position where volunteers could lose their lives and he is right.
Grand Forks Fire Rescue responded to close to 300 calls in 2012. Of the calls, 124 were rescue and first responder calls and 174 were calls for fire and that included the Grand Forks and Winnipeg Hotel fires, which were not easy blazes to battle, although you wouldn’t know it now as both have been demolished.
Not being frugal on the purchase of the new vehicle not only ensures that people are protected and insurance rates are low – it ensures the firefighters can perform more duties and it ensures they are protected as well, as they will be able to perform in not just a state-of-the-art vehicle, but one that designed to be safer as well.
Taxpayers don’t want to see more taxes but when it comes to such items as infrastructure and the purchase of a new firefighting vehicle, spending and not being cheap is a necessity.
Besides, the department is not only responsible for battling blazes, it also responds to hazardous material and aids in a number of types of rescue – swift water, flooding, vehicle accidents, high-angle rescue etc. The scope of the department has widened and people are volunteering their time so doesn’t it make sense to provide the best equipment possible?
As witnessed by recent events in Arizona, firefighting is a dangerous profession.
– Grand Forks Gazette