Having worked closely with fire protection services with my former employment in another state, I was familiar with the requirement for a fire service that could provide a safe community – something that should concern every resident.
When I arrived in Twin Falls, I was surprised to see the facilities being occupied by firefighters and their equipment was dated and inadequate. I arrived in the summer of 1995. It’s now 2019 and the facilities have not changed substantially since that time.
Both Jim Munn and I have been concerned about this situation for many years and we’re pleased about the efforts in the community to provide modern, up to date buildings for the Twin Falls Fire Department. Some critical issues that we believe the bond will address include:
1. Two of the three fire stations are 58 years old, and Station One, the newest, was built in 1976. The aging buildings do not meet ADA requirements or life safety codes. Fire stations should set the example for these requirements in the community.
2. The technology to get firefighters from the stations to the scene has improved dramatically over the years, but that technology is not available in the current facilities. Better response time means less property damage and more importantly less loss of life.
3. With the growth of Twin Falls there is a definite need for another ladder truck on the north side of town to reach the upper floors of many of the buildings.
4. There are no proper storage facilities in the stations to air out contaminants on clothing and equipment after returning from a call. The presence of carcinogens and other toxic chemicals is present in the living quarters of our fire fighters.
5. When these fire stations were built 58 years ago, no consideration was made to allow female firefighters to be housed in the facilities. Our fire stations lack the sleeping facilities and restroom facilities to accommodate female fire fighters.
6. Modern fire stations are equipped with devices that automatically shut down stoves, ovens and other devices when a call signal comes in. None of our fire stations are equipped with these devices.
7. Additional firefighters will be necessary to effectively protect our community as it continues to grow, but our fire department has already outgrown our stations. We simply need more space and this investment in our community will make that happen.
We recognize that this bond election is substantial, but the construction costs are rising fast and it will never be cheaper to build than it is today. This public safety improvement has been postponed long enough. Voting ‘yes’ on this issue will help ensure the safety of our community and the firefighters we rely on to protect our lives and our property.