The dedicated volunteers and professionals of local American fire departments are some of the finest men and women among us. They serve for one purpose: To risk their lives to save others. Whether the emergency is a house fire, car accident or a catastrophic attack on American soil, American firefighters readily sacrifice their own wellbeing to secure the safety of others. Unfortunately, these brave public servants are often left out of our political process which has left local fire departments underfunded, undermanned and under-appreciated.
For too long fire departments have not been given the proper attention they need from local government leaders which has lead to widespread issues in the firefighting profession. What is the biggest issue facing fire services today? We have identified 3 current problems in the fire service that are impacting firefighters.
The Top 3 Critical Issues Facing American Firefighters
The unfortunate reality for American firefighters is that the compensation they receive often does not reflect the level of personal risk and sacrifice these public servants make every day. Public servants like firefighters who readily throw themselves in harm’s way to protect others deserve fair and competitive compensation. Furthermore, under-compensating firefighters has led to fewer recruits.
By not offering attractive benefit/compensation packages, the quality of the next generation of recruits will suffer because our most talented individuals will be more likely to pursue other vocations due to the inadequate tradeoff of the risk versus compensation.
Proper Attention from Local Government
Today it seems that decisions are made by local governments without the proper input of first responders. In the case of American firefighters, local governments are often too comfortable funneling money out of fire departments to save money or to fund other projects. This trend by local governments is shortsighted and reckless. As populations continue to grow in the United States, many cities are simultaneously cutting funding to fire departments. It is simply dangerous to cut fire department funding while populations grow. As citizens, we should demand that our local leaders get their priorities straight. No bottom line should be put ahead of society’s most important public servants.
Long-term Health Benefits
Research concludes that many firefighters develop long-term medical conditions as a direct result of this noble line of work. People often forget that firefighters not only risk being injured in fires, they risk prolonged exposure to hazardous smoke, fumes and toxic chemicals. In many instances, these toxic conditions have led directly to long-term medical issues such as cancer.
Unfortunately, due to underfunding and underappreciation from some government leaders, many firefighters do not receive long-term health benefits. Pressure must be put on local decision-making bodies to aid our first responders in every way possible and for as long as necessary.
These issues are why the Firefighters & EMS Fund is dedicated to ensuring that firefighters across the country have a unified voice in government that advocates for their safety and well-being. If you believe these brave public servants deserve a united voice in our government, we encourage you to join the Firefighters & EMS Fund today! America’s firefighters need our support!