Columbus fire needs financial help

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To the editor:
The Columbus Fire Department needs your help.
If you live in the Town of Columbus or in the Columbus Fire District, you need to read this.
For the last many years, you have been protected by an organization made up of volunteers and supported by a fire tax. As you all know, the area has grown and many more people have moved in.
The average number of calls answered by Columbus Fire Department (CFD) in one year is 1,200. One half of these are medicals. Anytime a EMS call goes out, a fire department call for a first responder goes out at the same time. This first responder is a volunteer fireman that has EMT training. No matter what time of the day or night, he still responds.
We do have one fireman/first responder that works 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. five days a week. Any other time we must depend on a volunteer on a fire call to respond to the station to drive a truck to the scene.
He may have to pass the fire to get to the station, and we must get a truck to the fire before we can start fighting the fire. On a medical call, the volunteer goes direct, in his own vehicle, in all kinds of weather.
When other departments around Polk County have a house or building fire or a fire alarm, two mutual aid fire departments are also dispatched. CFD, being centrally located in Polk County, responds to all calls like this anywhere in the county.
In an average year, volunteers put in more than 4,000 hours either training or answering calls to serve the community.
Why am I telling you all of this information? Columbus Fire Department is asking the Polk County Board of Commissioners to approve an increase of .01 to the fire tax rate, which adds $10 per $100,000 of value to your tax bill. The Town of Columbus Council has already approved supporting this additional .01.
With this additional money we will be able to add necessary personnel to staff the station 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which will provide a faster response to all calls. This improves especially on medicals, having a trained fireman on the scene. Related to fire, getting a truck to the scene faster gets water on the fire faster.
We are asking for your support by attending a information meeting – the next ones are Monday, April 16 at Columbus Town Hall at 7 p.m. or May 10, same place, same time. If you cannot make either of these meetings, you can sign a sheet, supporting this at Columbus Town Hall or at the fire station. If you have questions, please call 828-894-3667.
In closing, yes, I am one of the volunteers who proudly serve you. None of the volunteers receive any compensation of any kind. We serve you out of the need of serving the community. Now we need your help and support.
– Jim Dorsett, Columbus