Volunteer firefighter urges county residents to vote for fire fee increase

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As a volunteer firefighter with two counties’ departments, I ask that each Lee County resident look at some facts and figures and ask questions concerning the upcoming vote on increasing the fire fee. Please be informed before you vote — and then vote appropriately.

It costs approximately $2,000 to outfit and give basic training to a new firefighter. This is just for their protection as they risk their (unpaid) lives to protect your family and property.

Have you ever considered the cost of insurance on firefighting vehicles, equipment and buildings? Do you know what the average maintenance costs are? What about communications equipment, medical equipment, etc.?

It all costs.

Do you know what it is like or can you imagine being called out at 2 a.m. and fighting a fire, working a wreck, responding to 911 calls, cutting a tree out of a road and then having to go to work at 7 or 8 a.m., and all of this is done in all types of weather?

Do you know what the average ages of your volunteers are? I guarantee you none are getting younger by the day and recruitment is not as easy it may sound. Volunteering requires a time commitment that is 24/7. It requires time for training, testing and yes, even grounds keeping. And that’s not to mention time away from family and keep in mind emergencies don’t take a holiday.

If you think a $25 annual increase is just too much, look at those figures again. Twenty five dollars a year breaks down to $2.08 per month or $.06 per day. That is six cents per day!

Remember, if you need emergency assistance to protect your family and property just once a year and you have voted “Yes” to increase the fire fee, that call to have fellow community volunteer members come and assist you in a time of need has just cost you six cents more that day. Aren’t these people who are making sacrifices worth it? I for one know they are. If you vote “No,” there’s no one to call.

These are just a few of the items you should find out more about. I urge each Lee County resident give this issue due diligence.

– Danny Dennis

Opelika

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