To the Editor,
Recently there was a meeting of the Robeson County Fire Chiefs Association, which was created to be a voice of leadership for fire protection in Robeson County. As most everyone knows, fire departments in Robeson County are primarily volunteer. A few departments have a “paid per call” status, and as far as I know only one department is considered “career.” The majority are volunteer.
The reason for the meeting was to discuss a department’s request to increase the “automatic aid” being dispatched by Robeson County 911 center. This was requested due to the increase of manpower present on the scene of a working structure fire. The National Institute of Standards and Technology during different simulations, showed that an increase of manpower on scene of a “working” structure fire, actually increased the chances of an effective rescue of a trapped civilian. It also decreased the likelihood of an injury to or death of a firefighter.
The department receiving automatic aid would also receive extra credit with North Carolina Department of Insurance, which lowers the cost of insurance premiums. The fire department of any fire district should do everything possible to improve its rating. We fail horribly if we don’t.
My challenge to you, the taxpayer, is to call your local fire department and speak to the fire chief. Demand to know if they were for the improvements or not.
There are 32 or 33 individual fire districts in Robeson County. Of those departments, only 23 departments were present at the meeting. Only nine fire departments voted for the increase of automatic aid. There were 14 departments that voted against.
It’s time for the standards in Robeson County to be raised. To those nine fire departments that voted yes, I commend you for standing up and trying to improve yourselves. Continue to set the level high.
Northwoods Fire Department