Sunday, July 25, 2010


COLUMBIA, 7/24/10  (Beat Byte) -- Budget cuts to a central Columbia fire station have local firefighters fired up over fears that emergency response delays could cost homes -- and lives. 
Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins recently decided to eliminate eight fire fighter positions, Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Local 1055 president Brad Fraizer explained in an email urging neighborhood association leaders to contact their City Council members
"This decision will permanently shut down one of two fire trucks at Columbia Fire Station Two on Worley Street, resulting in a significant public safety and fire fighter safety issue," Fraizer explained.
Divided into areas by proximity, fire stations function on a second-by-second clock.  For residents in this Worley Street area, that clock will almost certainly be delayed, Fraizer said.
"If the last remaining company at Station Two is on an emergency call, the next closest company will be dispatched," he explained.   "This could be a fire truck stationed on Chapel Hill, Providence, Ashland Road or downtown.   Not only will this result in a delayed response, it will also mean the primary area normally covered by this responding company will be unprotected.  Whether a medical emergency or a fire, every minute counts." 

Urging neighborhoods and their leaders to "call or write your Councilperson and ask them to keep public safety a priority," Fraizer ended his plea with a point.    "The citizens of Columbia have the best recreational facilities, the best library, and the best City Hall  money can buy.   They deserve the best emergency services too."
-- Mike Martin for the Columbia Heart Beat

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