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Fire fighters can’t protect communities alone

Every second counts when fire fighters are called to put out a fire or respond to a medical emergency. There’s no room for delays.

Nashville, TN Channel 4/WSMV highlights a problem that city fire fighters are grappling with, and that’s dozens of fire trucks are not running properly.

The news team found dozens of cases when Nashville fire trucks simply wouldn’t start, while some fire trucks had mileage beyond the industry standard for frontline responding vehicles.

Mark Young, president of Nashville IAFF Local 140, says the equipment is wearing out and it is an issue for fire fighters.

But the city department in charge of keeping the trucks running says there is no crisis.

The problem with worn out equipment is not just an issue in Nashville.

The Office of the Inspector General in Washington, DC released a report raising questions about whether the fire department in the Nation’s Capital is prepared for emergencies.

The report described fire trucks and ambulances as substandard. In addition, questions were raised about the number of running vehicles available.

In Jacksonville, Florida fire fighters had to rely on a resident’s garden hose to put out a brush fire earlier this year after budget cuts left some brush trucks unstaffed and out of service.

Critical life-saving equipment shouldn’t fall into disrepair because of budget cuts. But it’s happening time and time again in local municipalities that make cuts where they can least afford to first.

Seconds count in an emergency. Fire fighters risk their lives every day to protect their communities. Local municipalities should do their part and make a commitment to public safety.

Investment in public safety must be a priority in order to continue to keep our communities safe.

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