Sunday, May 15, 2005

Taxes and Firemen

The City of Brookfield recently discovered that its Fire Chief has difficulty controlling his budget for overtime, which caused some 'cluck-cluck' action at a recent Common Council meeting. The only surprise about that is that it took them a couple of years to mention the problem.

About three years ago, I suggested to a couple of Aldermen that the Fire Department had gotten into a very bad habit of sending Engine Companies out along with an ambulance on 911 health-related calls. It's a large waste of money but the Fire Chief gets to write up more "activity" reports, thus justifying extra manpower budget, extra equipment budget---you know the drill.

Why is this done? You won't believe the answer.

"We may need extra manpower to bring the victim out."

Really? For most 911 calls, the Police Department sends a squad which has a fairly able-bodied cop in it. They can't help? And speaking of the police, talk with a cop sometime about the way an engine company clogs up a road real fast-right now.

A few years ago my daughter was at the pediatrician's office with an asthma problem. The MD suggested that she be transported to a hospital for an overnight stay with oxygen. Sure enough, the engine company rolls into the clinic driveway right behind the ambo. Between the 5 rescue workers present, it was clear that they'd somehow manage to transport my 85-pound daughter--after all, she WALKED out to the ambo under her own power.

The fact is that this is simply unnecessary, and sometimes ludicrous. And over time, it's expensive. But hey--whose money is it, anyway?

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