Larry Killens writes in praise of firefighters and learning experiences

To the Expositor:

Last week a letter, I sent to Tehkummah Township was released in the media. I am looking forward to answers in relation to over-expenditures at our local firehall to which, at the time of writing this letter, I was still not privileged.

I wish to share with you a learning experience in this process. I have had to do research to ensure my questions are not ramblings and will be worthy of the attention of my fellow citizens.

The ultimate surprise I learned relates to those exemplary and dedicated individuals in our community—firefighters. For their own protection, firefighters are only permitted (by law) to combat/deal with a fire for which they have the proper equipment and training.

Through the Fire Marshall’s office, I have learned that our dedicated and committed firefighters are allowed only to combat an external structure fire. Translation, they are not allowed to enter a building to perform fire suppression, with the penalty of no insurance coverage if they are injured and possible charges for violating the labor code. The Fire Marshall went on to explain to me that this is the case in Tehkummah Township. Training is very expensive and with a high turnover of firefighters, it becomes even more expensive. This revelation fueled my concern—that due to the overrun of expenditures in the fire hall—insufficient training is part of the fallout as the township struggles to meet cash overruns of such high levels.

Now aware of the restrictions on our firemen, I called my insurance company and advised them of the fact our firefighters are not allowed to enter a burning structure. They explained this is the reason I pay higher premiums and am listed as an “unprotected” residence. The assurance of a “mutual aid” agreement or adjacent fire department having the expertise made no difference. My insurance agent advised me that if I had a structured fire in my residence, I would not be protected had they not known this fact. Fortunately I am listed as ‘unprotected’ and pay an ensuing high premium for protection. This is my learning curve. I trust you will check with your municipality and check with your insurance company about coverage.

Bottom line, not only do firefighters save lives, reduce property damage, attend hours of training without compensation, serve their community and are ready to risk their lives, they also save us an unknown amount of money by their being ready to assist us when in need.

I know that I for one already have a deep respect for these individuals we call firefighters, but I did not know they also allow me to have insurance on my home and valuables by their mere presence.

I say thanks to these men and women.

Larry Killens

South Baymouth