Letter: Editorial board got it wrong


(Editor’s note: Mr. Slaight’s letter is longer than the 500 words allowed under the newspaper’s policy. Part 1 is below and the second part will appear in Friday’s edition.)

To the editor:

As a 20-year retired firefighter for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District, I am somewhat insulted by the editorial board’s uneducated stance on the proposed training center.

You make a statement that this is not about the firefighters themselves. But by your comments you are saying they do not deserve a place to effectively train as a team and to put their lives on the line to protect all of us without the best training available. This training center is just as important as any other piece of equipment provided to our firefighters.

When I became a rookie in 1986 there was no real structured training classes. We learned from our mistakes and from what senior firefighters tried to teach us. A couple years later we as a younger group of firefighters realized how important training was for the district we protected and more importantly our own safety.

We set out to become firefighter 1 certified. Firefighter certifications are a nationally known and accepted firefighter training curriculum where you learn all aspects of safe, effective firefighting.

As with any training curriculum, this training also has changed through the years as changes in building design, furnishing and other hazards have been built into today's structures. Haz-mat and live fire certification is now part of the firefighter 1 certification.

Firefighting experts were realizing too many firefighters were not prepared to enter a burning building and were not recognizing the phases of fire and the dangers involved with extinguishment.

This building is not just a live fire training building. It is not just a fire tower training building. What it is, is a building where all facets of firefighter training can be achieved.

I hope none of you naysayers think that our firefighters returning home safe to their families is not the number one priority. To have the best chance at that goal they all need the best training available.

When we were rookies, we learned about heat from a burning pile of pallets. We went into a room to find a fire by obscuring our SCBA mask with wax paper and entering a room trying to find a traffic cone that simulated the fire.

Believe me my first entry into a burning building was nothing like what that training was like. Heat forced your face to the floor, you could not see your hand in front of your face and your knees were stuck to the melting carpet.

Our firefighters deserve better training than that. The firefighter 1 curriculum takes almost a year to complete. Rookie firefighters are taught all the necessary aspects of being a firefighter.

Firefighter safety, SCBA, Search and Rescue, fire streams, ladders, ventilation, ropes and knots, and fire behavior to name a few subjects. This building can be used for all of this training and more.

The current fire station is not a proper training facility. Putting ladders against the building tears up the sides, and the roof is not designed to be walked on unnecessarily.

Doug Slaight

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native_craig_guy 5 years ago

Then train in Rangely or Routt...... The PD and SO don't have their own shooting ranges.


j4mom7 5 years ago

The above thought is so stupid as to be inane. True, the PD and SO do not have their own shooting range, but they have the use of one right here in town that they qualify at regularly. The great thing about the range being local is if the officers are needed, they can respond in minutes. That couldn't be said for the firefighters if it took them 15 minutes to over an hour to respond to a fire from training in Hayden or Rangely. If you have to wait that long, why bother having a fire department at all.


Jason Phillips 5 years ago

I'm still waiting for the editorial board to get something right.


Sam Relaford 5 years ago

The point the editorial boardwas making was that the funding for the training tower was shot down by the public. And the fire district guru decided to spend the money anyway. Our fire fighters are very good. Nobody ever said they were not. I do think there is no reason why we wouldn't be able to use the facility in hayden or rangely. The cost would be extremely less than a million dollar piece of concrete and steel. So my point is that there is a certain protocall that must be followed for this sort of thing. The Fire distric is no exception to that.


mtnmesa 5 years ago

Well said Doug! I am behind the fire department 100%. I want them to be as trained as possible to do their job as safe as possible in the event of my emergency. These guys and gals already spend too much time away from their families. Anything to help them better themselves without having to travel across the state or farther is great. I can not believe how much this community complains about anything to improve this town. If I was looking to relocate here and I was reading all of this nonsense I'd be leary to move to a town that doesn't support it's own community.


mtnmesa 5 years ago

Who's going to do the job if they all quit? YOU?????


saunders 5 years ago

I am curious Thefatguy what are your qualifications to judge the level of training of a firefighter? Are you one? Were you one? From your name I doubt it!

Can any of you who oppose this facility tell me if Hayden even follows NFPA regulations in the operation of their tower?

ranger520 have you seen the proposed tower besides the drawing shown in the paper? The college will have final say in the appearance of this tower just as they did the hospital. Do you believe they will allow an eyesore?


Ray Cartwright 5 years ago

I am thinking that the entire point is the fact that the fire board is not asking for a dime from the taxpayers although down the road the maintenance of the building will require funding. The fire board has also planned on that and other than the mil levy increase that we all voted on..[either for or against, it doesn't matter because it did pass] will cover and is already been taken into account. I realize that the need for additional training is needed and although I am personally against the erection of the tower in view of my home I am no different of any citizen out there. "JUST NOT IN MY BACKYARD"


Sam Relaford 5 years ago

Well Saunders! I said we have very good firefighters here in Craig. And dont judge a man before you meet him. Cause I say I'm Thefatguy doesnt mean I am a fat slob that sits around doing nothing.I am actually an Honarably dischargedDeasert Storm Vet that works very hard and pays taxes that support our fire department and police force. What I am saying is that when the public says no, they mean no. Dont ignore what we say. And YES I believe they will allow an eyesore to be built in this area. Have you ever seen the training facilities in Hayden or Rangely? Its not pretty no matter how you build it.


STTAK 5 years ago

ranger520 and thefatguy- May I ask what your deffinition of and "eyesore" is to you?


mtnmesa 5 years ago

I have lived in this town for 23 years. My husband has been a firefighter in this town for the last 10 years. He also has volunteered the last 5 years with Evans Fire Department. During his 10 year tenure in Craig we have seen 3 chiefs, a continual cycle of officers, people retiring or moving, and rookies joining the ranks all as the ongoing part of life that is the fire department. When I moved to this town the firefighters were summoned by a loud siren that sounded like a tornado warning. That has since progressed into a pager system. The station has seen a few additions and improvements along the way. The firefighters have evolved into true professionals, each one meeting certain requirements to ensure that they are doing the best job that they can as safely as they can. The gear, tools and trucks have been updated to allow this as well. Change it seems; is as inevitable as death and taxes. I have my own opinion on this training tower, and you are all entitled to your own. I’m not going to try to change yours. What I am going to do is give you my own perspective. Not of the firefighters, or the board. Not the Taxpayers, or the newspapers; but that of the firefighter’s wife. I have not seen my husband on a Thursday night in 10 years. Everything in our lives has been planned around the department since he joined. But even planning around scheduled events is not enough. Holidays are not exempt from the pager, neither are weekends, evenings, 3:00 in the morning, dance recitals, children’s birthdays, school events, lunches, dinners and trips to the grocery store, This is not just my husband. They are all that way. They don’t make the decision to go on these calls. They just go. Besides meetings and calls they also go to trainings. Extrication, flashovers, ice rescue, rope rescue, confined space, and Haz Mat just to name a few. On top of that, many of them are also EMT’s as well. They attend all of these classes along with the required 36 hours of training. They average over 100 hours of training a year. All of this accomplished while also working at least 1 full time job.


mtnmesa 5 years ago

That may not sound like a lot of time to some people, but to the families of firefighters it seems like a lot. Besides the time they give to the department and trainings they also have to make up the hours that they miss at work for a call. After all, the bills still have to be paid. My husband missed 7 hours of work yesterday for a call. He went to work for an hour between the call and the board meeting. We were at the meeting until 10:00 pm. I went home. He went back to work to do what needed to be done. It happens all the time. It’s the life of a firefighter’s wife. There are 30 other spouses, all with similar stories. I can not answer anyone’s questions on behalf of anyone but myself, but I’m willing to answer any that you might have. I for one pay my taxes to the fire district. I voted for the mill levy increase. I support the training facility and all of the firefighters that will train in it. I will be glad for even 1 more hour of time spent with my husband because of it, and I will be grateful for the training that he will receive there that may someday save his life. Thank you, Tonya Mercer 756-9222


David Moore 5 years ago

Great article Tonya, well put. Imagine if every firefighter did what ranger said you should do, quit, then where would we be? It's not only your husbands life which is difficult, it's all of them, they are a team and live with the same difficulties, no one has it easy. I for one am grateful they are there to help us in our most dire time of need, helps us all sleep better at night, and I am behind them 100%.


COWORKER 5 years ago

Ok I am not a firefighter wife so how about an UNbiased opinion. To me the new tower makes perfect sense!It is clear the Fatguy, ranger patrick and the editiorial board have not done their homework.If they had, maybe they could make some intelligent comments! My only concern was it's location. I read in the D-press that the Fire Board made a presentation to TMH and now have their blessing,so if they are good with it so am I. I also understand that CNCC would like to add a fire science program so they also are in favor of the location. And talk about putting money into eyesores..What really chaps my back side is the city's plan to put money into the Shadow Mountain infrastructure ! Now THAT is a waste of money( I bet at least one of you idiots posting here lives in that mess). PS Fatguy " Honarably dischargedDeasert Storm Vet "is spelled HONORABLY discharged DESERT Storm


Colette Erickson 5 years ago

Heh "Coworker" - if you are going to be the grammar and spelling police - FYI, "desert" should be capitalized..............

Well said, Tonya. So glad that this is your husband's passion. Where would our community be w/o a well-trained and dedicated FD? Ignore "ranger."


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