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Opinion: Fatal in Jamesville a reminder that more volunteer firefighters are needed

— The problem does not lie in the response time that day, but rather the fact that there are 19 volunteer members of a fire department in a community of thousands. It is not specific to Jamesville as it is a nationwide problem. The reasons why there are insufficient numbers of volunteers are many, so perhaps then we should be even more thankful for the ones that are. After all, in addition to the hundreds of training hours that are mandated each year, they must be ready to answer a call at any time of the day or night, season or holiday, respond to numerous, numerous false alarms, each time as if it was an actual emergency, get to the scene while putting themselves and their equipment at risk of careless, inconsiderate motorists. (The fact that there is now a “move over” law is not because everyone was moving out of the way of emergency vehicles). And while at scenes they are increasingly subjected to those citizens who feel the need to express their displeasure over having to be detoured or otherwise inconvenienced because a fire hose or fire truck lies in their way. That very weekend firefighters from East Syracuse responded to the same scene of a fire repeatedly. Each time as an emergency, each time with the same commitment to answering the call.

Where the answers are to the diminishing numbers of volunteers in the fire service across the country and in this community as well remain to be found. In the meantime we should support those in the fire service, paid or volunteer for the simple reason that we can never have enough who are willing to risk their life for others.

As an emergency service provider in the Town of DeWitt I feel fortunate to have those 19 members in Jamesville willing and ready to respond alongside each other in whatever the emergency is, whenever it may be. And on Sunday morning of September 11th I will again welcome the opportunity to stand alongside them as well the brave men and women of the DeWitt and East Syracuse Fire Departments as we all pause to remember the sacrifices made by those in the fire service who suffered their worst loss in one single day rushing to a scene to help others. That was no fluke.

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