An Open Letter to the Residents of North Stonington,
As of the week of 4/4/20 the Board of Finance and Board of Selectman have denied the Fire Company’s request for funding to support putting 2 Per-diem firefighters on during the daytime, Monday - Friday 6am- 4pm, while 90% of our members leave town for their full-time jobs. NSVFC has continued to advocate and advised the town’s leaders for years that this was a concern and a need that was coming.
Due to the pandemic we are faced with, our daytime firefighter availability has been even more reduced due to some of them falling within the category of being at “high risk” for getting the Coronavirus. These members, who make up many of your daytime first responders, are retired and between 60-85 years of age. While they’ve accepted the increased dangers put on them and their families during normal circumstances, as all our firefighters have, we cannot unnecessarily expose our most vulnerable members.
Our budget has been scrutinized by the Town for years. We would ask you to show us any fire organization with the equipment and staffing we currently have that can operate on the shoe string budget that we have as the volunteer pool dries up and still be expected to provide the continued same level of service. The fact is, without our volunteers, the costs today would be 10-20 times higher to the Town. Our current budget for (45 firefighters) is less than the cost for 3 full time firefighters, or basically one per shift!
The crucial two questions that must be asked are:
“What would you do if nobody answered your daytime call for help?”
“Are you willing to accept reduced services during weekdays?”
We ask that the town’s residents contact the Selectman’s Office and the Board of Finance directly to voice your opinion.
Your neighbors and members of the North Stonington Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.
Submitted on behalf of the NSVFD by:
Charles A. Steinhart V