Our View: Call of duty
November 28, 2007
The call to duty can come at any time.
Day or night, it doesn’t matter if the person is awake or asleep.
When the pager goes off, he or she must be ready at a moment’s notice.
They are the Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters, and they should be applauded for their efforts.
The job they have is not easy, and this weekend was a perfect example.
On Saturday, the County Shop caught fire. In an hour and a half, the firefighters had the fire under control.
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But that doesn’t remotely signify the time they put in.
It doesn’t reflect all of the training before they fight a fire, nor the time put in to ensure a safe scene once they arrive.
It doesn’t show all the time the firefighters put in mopping up the fire, not the time after a fire the firefighters spend cleaning the vehicles and making sure the equipment is safe, so when the next call comes in, they are ready to roll.
Because when they do roll, the vast majority of time, they do their job exceedingly well.
In fact, they’re so good that fires like the one that destroyed the Country Mall on Sunday is almost beyond comprehension. They’re so efficient, the editorial board believes that there was little that quasi-volunteer firefighters (paid per call) could do to save the building once it got into the attic and spread.
It was a dangerous fire with roofs collapsing and glass exploding, and they were able to meet their most important goal: Ensuring no one was injured.
Through the years, they’ve done a lot to help keep this community safe.
But more can be done. And we’re the ones to do it.
Between Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters were at fire scenes for a lion’s share of the days (and Sunday night/Monday morning).
The problem is there are a limited number of firefighters – 24 who currently are active, to be exact. They need more volunteers on the department.
They also could use some strong consideration from the city and county as to initiate fire codes in the area.
Currently, none exist.
There is the fear of what it might cost existing or new buildings to meet such codes, but in the long run, it will be better for the area and the Fire Department to be proactive.
We don’t want to see businesses not be able to afford to stay here, but we can’t afford not to have a serious conversation about this problem.
The firefighters continue to meet their call of duty. Can we do the same to help them?