Our View: Fire department deserves praise and recognitionThere are plenty of volunteers in our community, but among those at the head of the list deserving praise are the volunteer firefighters who respond to calls any time of the day or night.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
There are plenty of volunteers in our community, but among those at the head of the list deserving praise are the volunteer firefighters who respond to calls any time of the day or night.
This week is Fire Prevention Week and firefighters have safety tips for homeowners, business owners and apartment dwellers. First and foremost, however, is to be sure you have working smoke alarms!
Hudson Fire Chief Jim Frye said that over the years, smoke alarms have saved many lives in the Hudson area — a mere 30 seconds can be the difference between life and death.
After major fires, volunteer firefighters often look like – and are – heroes. Not so glamorous, however, are the runs that occur regularly – accident scenes, grass fires, minor fires, false alarms (there are many of those with alarm systems in homes and businesses today), etc. This year alone, the Hudson Fire Department is on pace to make about 400 runs – an average of more than one per day! Whether it’s a front-page fire or routine mop-up duty, the local volunteers are ready to drop what they are doing and jump on the firetruck.
Of course, “volunteer” is not a totally accurate term. Hudson firefighters earn the grand sum of $18.50 per call – some a buck or two more! Pretty cheap pay for performing life-threatening work and being on call 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
If we designed a help-wanted ad for a volunteer firefighter, the copy would be laughable. It would go something like this: Help wanted – someone willing to do life-threatening work; must be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week and will be lowly compensated, but compensated only when called. Position also requires a commitment to extensive training and practice schedules on some nights and some weekends. As part of the team, associates also should be available for parade duty, school education opportunities and other exciting informational sessions throughout the community. An equal opportunity employer!
Thank goodness we have men and women (there is currently one woman on the HFD roster) willing to accept the challenge described above! By the way, there are currently a couple of openings on the department and Frye would welcome new recruits. The department especially needs people who are available to respond during day hours. Anyone who may be interested should call (715) 386-5861 or stop by City Hall and fill out an application.
Taxpayers may be interested in knowing that if a volunteer fire department cannot be maintained, it would cost nearly $2 million annually in additional costs to establish a department with some paid staff.
But, we expect to see a volunteer department for the foreseeable future and we should also pay tribute to the employers who are willing to allow firefighters the flexibility to leave the workplace when the alarm is sounded.
We know firefighters are not looking for praise – most are extremely modest. What they are most concerned about is fire safety. If you want to pay tribute to our local fire department, make sure your smoke alarms are in working order. If you would like more information about the Hudson Fire Department, including safety tips, information, history, runs, photos and other interesting items, visit www.hudsonfd.org.