I have followed the recent articles about the city of Buckley purchasing property for a new fire station and most recently, the city council passing an ordinance to place a bond measure on the April ballot asking the citizens of Buckley to fund a new fire station.
We should all be asking questions. Why does Buckley need a new fire station? Why, in this slow economy, should we even consider voting to approve more spending to fund the construction of a new fire station?
At first I thought maybe it is simply because the fire department wants a new station, or maybe because the firefighters felt a new fire station was needed. Then, the more I thought, I realized a new fire station really isn’t about the fire department or even the firefighters. A new fire station is really about us, the people who live in Buckley; and us, the people who have an expectation that the fire department will be there to provide us with service when we call.
Most people think of a fire station as a safe place in the community during an emergency or the place where the big red engine with sirens comes from. That is, if you even think of it at all. A fire station is much more. It houses firefighters. We have six resident volunteer firefighters who live at our station 365 days a year. We also have a paramedic in service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and another volunteer firefighter spending the night each night. The Buckley fire station is not big enough. Buckley needs to rent a house across the street in order to house these people in a reasonable fashion.
Another vital function of the fire station is as a place of training. Right now, the Buckley Fire Department has to borrow a classroom at the Wickersham school so there is enough room. The department also runs weekly drills for the firefighters and if everyone shows up they are bumping elbows. The Buckley fire station is not big enough.
To perform all of the duties we as a community benefit from and expect, our firefighters require gear and a place to clean and store it. Our department needs to rent storage space at three separate locations around the city in order to store our gear. Buckley’s cleaning facilities are inadequate as well; for example, there is currently only one sink and it is used for hand washing, medical equipment cleaning and then, if thirsty, even getting a drink from. These examples demonstrate two of the inefficiencies of our current station.
The Buckley fire station has served our community well over many years. It is time for our station to grow and stay current as the community has. The fire station is an important part of the community and serves its citizens in more ways than I can count. It is time to pass the bond measure to show support for our community through supporting the fire department.
People of Buckley, this is your fire station. It doesn’t belong to the fire department and it doesn’t belong to the fIrefIghters. People of Buckley, we need a new fire station. Once you take a look for yourself I think you’ll fInd it much easier to decide how to vote in April. Stop by the fire station and I am sure they will be happy to show you around. I know I did and without any hesitation I will vote that we need a new fire station.