Kay Borvansky: Back firefighters

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As a 40-year resident and the proud mother of a Steamboat Springs firefighter/EMT, I must applaud those City Council members who were the voice of reason at the Jan. 3 meeting. They realized that the study done to determine where the budget could be cut was incomplete and needed further study and that salaries were not even considered.

We are blessed to have a wonderful group of dedicated and professional men and women protecting our community, a community in which many of them were born and raised. Our firefighters are highly trained and continue training on a regular basis. They have learned through all that training how to fight fires as an effective team. All members operate independently but also as part of a cohesive unit. Having a full team at the ready 24/7 provides a faster response time, and therefore the success of fire mitigation is more effective. Also, property owners in communities with professional fire departments have lower property insurance rates, which is good for everyone.

How fortunate we are that all our first responders are cross-trained as either EMTs or paramedics, particularly because the majority of the calls they respond to are medical in nature. This system has to be more cost-effective than outsourcing EMS services, not to mention the personal connection Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue members have with their neighbors in the community they call home.

Also served are visitors to our area. This was indicated in the recent letter to the editor written by the grateful mother of a visiting child who suffered a life-threatening event and was spared harm because of the quick and capable treatment provided by our first responders.

My son and his co-workers have chosen their career path not for personal gain but to serve others in the highest degree, saving the lives we cherish and the property we all work so hard to attain. That being said, their courage and devotion needs to be adequately compensated for them to enjoy the decent lifestyle they deserve. And yes, most of them work other jobs and still struggle to provide for their families.

Because our firefighters are not paid commensurate with our high cost of living, we have lost four highly trained and qualified people in the past year. It is costly and labor intensive to train a department and get them to a level that provides competence, as well the ability to function as an effective team. Losing firefighters is counterproductive.

I would appeal to all citizens to ask our city fathers to look elsewhere for cost reductions, not with our most important and basic needs — the health and safety of our loved ones and our property.

Kay Borvansky

Steamboat Springs

Comments

BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree 100%. The city's fire fighters are not paid nearly enough. Only with overtime are they able to earn a "livable" wage, if you can call it that.

Why is the city so short sided in a bunch of issues that concern everyone who lives here so greatly? City officials have no problem dropping big $$ on open space land that was already open to the public, but now we consider cutting emergency services? Blows my mind.

How is it cheaper and better to privatize? All that means is the company taking over will pay their employees less and give them less benefits. It's wrong!

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Kevin Nerney 2 years, 6 months ago

Be Cool ---- There are two major reasons Firefighters are underpaid not only in this city but every city nationwide. One we don't generate income. Unlike their Police counterparts who can issue tickets and steal (collect) fines the Firefighters are just an insurance policy. The other main reason is so many people are willing to run into burning buildings for free (volunteers) why pay top dollar to someone to do something they would gladly do for nothing. Think of stuntmen in Hollywood, they risk their necks for little pay while the actor gets not only the glory but the big bucks. I speak from experience as a former member of the NYPD ( I always said "keep your raises, just give me a percentage of the summonses I issue- (I could have written my own paycheck)). And as a retired member of the FDNY when we went looking for a raise the city used to say let's compare FDNY salaries to the surrounding area's pay and the only surrounding dept.'s were Volunteers.( and they had all the toys but that's a subject for another day.)

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beentheredonethat 2 years, 6 months ago

Dissatisfied steamboat firefighters should move to better paying communities and stop their complaining.

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callguinness 2 years, 6 months ago

Beenthere,

That is what is happening. That is why steamboat fire is concerned about being a training department with only low experience firefighters.

The overall cost question is would it be cheaper to keep well paid trained employees than to be constantly training new people.

The cost of training is more than the direct dollar value of training dollars. How about the loss that could be prevented by having more training and experience in the firefighters. That counts lives and property.

Beenthere, what if it was your mom, wife or daughter. What if it was your house? Would you want more experience or would you want cheap and new experience?

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BeCoolHoneyBunny 2 years, 6 months ago

benntheredonethat,

Why would you want dedicated firefighters to move out of town? Why are you against the idea of your neighbor making a respectable living in this community?

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