Our view: Automation not quick fix, but long-term process that could save lives

— This isn’t an issue of paid, full-time firefighters being any more talented, responsible or better trained than volunteers. In many cases, volunteer departments are extremely capable and reliable, and they have options for addressing availability shortages, like participating in the Onondaga Community College’s bunk-in program that puts in-training firefighters in volunteer firehouses overnight while they work toward becoming certified for full-time, paid positions.

But we’re shocked that the very viable — and free — option of automating mutual aid systems through the county 911 system is not being utilized by more departments. The staff of the 911 center would work with departments to establish their systems and can help develop a plan that best suits their needs, just as they did for the Camillus Fire Department.

As Loerzel pointed out in June, total automation may not be the best solution for every department. But it is totally unacceptable that every department isn’t regularly examining their system and looking for ways to incorporate the newest and most reliable technology into the way they respond to emergencies.

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