Vail Daily letter: ‘Yes’ to Gypsum fire
The fire service has relied on volunteers to staff the fire engines and respond to calls for over a hundred years. Unfortunately, those days are rapidly coming to an end. Those volunteers are now either too busy to break away at a moment’s notice or, more likely, they are working far outside of their hometown and are unable to respond in a timely manner. In addition to the time commitment is the required training in order to maintain their certifications. Gone are the days of just being able to grab some bunker gear and jump on a truck as it leaves the station. The fire service as a whole is moving away from the “good ol’ boy” volunteer aspect in favor of professional firefighters. In addition to the things mentioned above, the entire aspect of fighting fire is changing. The building construction of today combined with the new materials used is making fires more dangerous. Buildings that used to last up to an hour in fire conditions are now deemed unsafe in a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, those districts that previously relied on the generosity of the town members to volunteer are now faced with some serious manpower shortages. And those budgets that relied on that “free labor” are faced with some tremendous budget shortfalls. The firefighters in Gypsum are no exception.
When faced with the downturn in the economy and the falling assessed property valuations, the Gypsum Fire Protection District is now in dire financial need. They have lost approximately half of their operating budget. They have done as much as they can to trim the budget and cut corners. But there are only so many corners to cut and all the fat is long gone from the budget. They’re now faced with making cuts to the response protocol that would fall short of National Fire Protection Association standards. Dropping below those standards places the firefighters at serious risk and makes them unable to effectively do anything other than prepare for when more help arrives. Currently the Gypsum Fire Protection District is responding with only one or two on an engine. That limited response is curtailing what the firefighters are able to do upon arrival. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a two in and two out rule. That means two firefighters ready to effect a rescue in the event of the firefighters inside needing help. The current staffing levels in the Gypsum Fire Protection District preclude initiating a rescue of trapped individuals or even starting fire attack until more help arrives.
The Gypsum Fire Protection District is looking for your understanding and support when you get your ballot in the mail. This is a serious issue. The investment you have made in your home and the well being of your family members depend on the outcome of this ballot. Please vote “yes” on GFPD A.