Letter: Elected officials, property owners should work with firefighters
Public safety is a critical service. The fire service provides both fire and emergency medical responses. Thus, elected officials and property owners have a shared responsibility to assist the fire service personnel.
As communities develop and evacuation times are reduced, the fire service tends not to be part of the conversation. The property owner and zoning and building codes do not consider the needs of the fire service to provide services. Case in point, a fire district’s firefighters and mutual aid firefighters responded to a structure fire for one building where a neighboring structure sustained damage from heat and flames. In this situation, the responding firefighters had to ensure the safety of the additional structure.
The streets and roads are narrow, especially for fire trucks to respond to structure fires. In situations where roads or streets are narrow, the responding firefighters have to extend more hose which causes a reduction in pressure needed for fire suppression. In freezing conditions when firefighters are applying water to suppress the fire and water starts freezing, this causes a hazard for trucks going to replenish the water supply. The trucks are subject to going into the ditch, which is an additional hazard.
- Expand green space, e.g. more city parks and increased distance between structures
- Require wider roadways and shoulders, including private driveways
- Municipal calendar parking (to assist fire trucks maneuvering streets)
- Incorporate fire chiefs into community planning and development discussions