Responding To Emergencies Alone Is the Norm in Winchester, Virginia
In Winchester, 70% of the time trucks respond to emergencies with JUST THE DRIVER.
This practice puts citizens of Winchester and firefighters at extreme risk. Federal standard require FOUR firefighters at the scene of a fire-- two inside the building and two outside in case there is an emergency.
Driver-only cannot continue in Winchester. Fire & rescue is not a service that citizens can provide on their own. Fire & rescue personnel depend on the city for their safety-- they cannot take up an offering and hire more staff. The citizens of Winchester depend on city leadership for their safety as well.
When I visited the fire stations earlier this week, the possibility of avoidable death was a common theme.... firefighters talking about wanting to make sure they can go home to their families... articulating a realization that "someone will have to die before the city fixes this".... describing the situation as "dangerous" and "dire"... contemplating the degree to which it would shatter the department if a fellow firefighter died.
Why do our firefighters have to think about these things?
Winchester deserves a functional fire department. And, citizens deserve to know what their tax dollars have (and have NOT) been financing. And, the people who put their lives on the line to save ours deserve city leadership that listens to them and meets their needs.
A lot rides on this election.