Thursday, September 20, 2007

Letter Mailed to Loma Prieta Residents

September 14, 2007

Dear Neighbor,

Whenever there is a fire or medical related call to 911, whether it is for a broken arm at the school, chest pains at the store, a crash on Bear Creek road, or a person trapped under a tree, we respond to your call for help. By "we", I mean Santa Cruz County Fire.

Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire and Rescue is part of Santa Cruz County Fire and responds alongside the career Burrell engine using our four fire engines and one rescue truck. We respond as a team, Burrell provides guaranteed response and Loma Prieta provides response in depth. With up to 20 volunteer firefighters, we are well positioned to respond to multiple or major incidents. We often provide very fast response because we are your neighbors and may respond directly to the incident. Together, Loma Prieta and Burrell form a strong and cost effective team.

During the summer, there are seven paid Cal Fire stations open in the County. In the winter, the state would normally close these stations, but Santa Cruz County Fire contracts with the state to keep four fire stations open. Burrell is the fire station that remains open in our area. Most of the money spent by Santa Cruz County Fire goes to paying the salaries of career firefighters, such as those at Burrell. But a vast amount of money is saved because most of County Fire's Firefighters are volunteers. Volunteers are trained to the same high standards, do the same things as the paid firefighters at Burrell. But we are volunteers, and sometimes it may take us a little while to respond because we have to do other things too. We might be working or taking the kids to school. That is where the career firefighters come in. They are paid to always be there to respond to your call to 911, 24/7. We, as a community, need them.

Santa Cruz County Fire also provides the big ticket items to Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire and Rescue such as three of our four fire engines, fuel, a large amount of our basic equipment, and our core training.

If the measure doesn't succeed, we face cutbacks in career firefighters, from three to two per engine, reducing effectiveness. In addition, we face the closure of one or more career fire stations during the winter. We hope that Burrell won’t be closed, but we don't know for sure. Many fire engines are nearing (or even past) the end of their life cycle, and they might not be replaced. If there are cutbacks, you can rest assured that Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire and Rescue will still respond to your call to 911 the best we are able, but perhaps with inferior equipment and training.

The volunteers need you to vote in favor of this measure.


Alexander Leman
Chief, Loma Prieta Fire and Rescue

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