06/30/2002: Coralsprings.com Howard Melamed
How is it that the very same commissioners spent taxpayer’s money on a Fire Station that they were convinced was necessary several years ago and now are convinced that it is not?
Many things have changed in Coral Springs. Our population has increased to over 120,000. We have a fully paid 24/7 fire department. Many things have not changed. The same 3 city commissioners and mayor that voted to open Station 95 when the population was half of what it is now, have just voted to close it. Why should we trust these commissioners to make the right decision? We shouldn’t . They do not know what they are doing. Isn’t it obvious? They are once again spending public money wastefully without providing the protection that our citizens of this city need.
So why do they now want to close this station down? Simple. Money. They want to show that they are saving the taxpayer’s money. After all, at the very same meeting they voted to give themselves subsidized health insurance at a substantial burden to the taxpayers. In other words, they are making the city less safe in order to give themselves a future bonus.
However there is another person who is ‘doing it’ to the citizens. That is City Manager Mike Levenson who is put in the position to find ways to reduce the city expenses because the City Commssioners are finding ways to increase it. He is putting the squeeze on Chief Haupt and other department heads to cut costs. It is very dangerous, as we have seen in the past, to reduce spending on a fire department that needs more money.
No one asked these commissioners, the mayor, the City Manager or Chief Haupt to cut the costs in the fire department. If we wanted that , we would have all accepted a volunteer fire department and not gone to the expense of a fully paid professional one
The real fact is that an additional fire station is needed to cover the North West corner of our city which does not have the same level of fire protection as other areas of Coral Springs.
I listened to Chief Haupt who said that we now have more than 120 active volunteer fire fighters who are as well trained as the professionals. That’s great. Let’s put them to work! Let’s have more than the adequate amount of fire fighters come to a call. Let’s give Station 95 to the Volunteers who can man it fulltime at very little expense to the city. I am proud to be part of the movement that brought Chief Haupt here. However, let’s not cloud his thinking by telling him to cut costs.
Here’s the Coralsprings.com Solution:
- Leave Station 95 in the hands of the volunteers and fully dedicate the station to their use. Build another station in Northwest Coral Springs.
- Build another station any where else that Chief Haupt believes that we need one to more than adequately protect the citizens but give us the same protection to every citizen of this city.
Where do we get the money? Reduce the health plan of the city commissioners, sell the city center, and stop the Los Mizner project.
But that is too simple a solution for the simple minded….
Thank you for supporting the Fire Dept. There needs to be more residents that take notice, or should I say take action against the commissioner’s decisions. I want to politely correct you on the numbers the Fire Chief is throwing around. I do not know where the number “120” comes from. There is absolutely no truth to that number of volunteers. Last month approximately 29 volunteers made quota on their training hours, nearly half of those members do not carry any certification for Firefighter. The truth is there are dozens of volunteers that have absolutely no cert.’s what so ever but are given the same uniform and badge as the career members that currently hold Firefighter/EMT/Paramedic cert.’s. Let me tell you the scary truth. Here are the numbers the Fire Chief is telling the commissioners and residence, “We are at optimal staffing”, 120 volunteers, fully staffed engines and “ambulances” (rescue trucks), as well as soon to be dive rescue team and hazardous materials team. Are you ready for the real numbers? Five (ALS) engines, Four (ALS) Rescue trucks Two aerial apparatus (that are never staffed), and hopefully both an Assistant and Battalion Chief if one’s not sick. These are the units that cover 120,000 residents and approximately 23 square miles. Here are the numbers the Fire Chief Does not want you to know; Five engines (10) people, two per unit. 90% of the time an EMT and Paramedic on an (Advanced Life Support Unit or ALS) Four Ambulance’s (rescue) trucks (8) people, two per unit again, one Paramedic and one EMT. 1 ladder truck and 1 platform truck (not staffed). The volunteer’s are an important part of the system; the only problem is there are not enough members that are “qualified” to support the missing numbers per shift which is around ten or twelve. The fact of all this is that there are around twenty (career) members per shift, I hope you realize that is nowhere near enough people to cover a city the size of Coral Springs. The Chief likes to tell people that the volunteer’s fill the gaps, but they don’t. Eleven Fire/Rescue trucks 20 people, you do the math, it’s your house, it’s your family and the commissioners are deciding these numbers for you. I could go on and on about the problems but I hope I said enough to raise an eyebrow on the current events that will ultimately effect you, the taxpayer, the citizen, and the only person who can make a difference. I am a concerned citizen but my single voice only goes so far. We need to tell these commissioners to help the Fire Department increase staffing. Thanks for your time, Concerned citizen