Fire departments do far more than just fight fires

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Your Thursday editorial, “Clark County’s six-figure club,” fails to grasp the primary mission of the fire department. The editorial notes that fire departments respond to fewer fires than they did 40 years ago, despite the hiring of more professional fire fighters. The implication seems to be the more fires you respond to the more productive a fire department is.

But the primary function of any fire department is fire prevention. If you are having too many fires, then the fire prevention efforts need to be increased. Otherwise the police would be doing a great job if they had more calls for bank robberies. The prime directive of the police is crime prevention, too.

The local municipal leaders and the fire departments have worked to secure the finest fire prevention codes in the nation to protect our local residents and 40 million yearly visitors. The reason your local firefighters are making such high wages is because the departments are understaffed. The fire department is having to call back off duty firefighter to maintain proper safe staffing levels at fire stations.

As a result, the insurance companies charge less for insurance on buildings when you have a properly manned fire department with the proper amount of fire-fighting equipment. The fire protection is rated by the Insurance Service Origination (ISO). If you check on the ratings for departments in Las Vegas and Clark County, you’ll find they are both Class 1 fire departments. This is the highest rating.

To reduce the six-figure wages, which are a product of overtime, you need to hire more full-time personnel for the fire departments. We have hired more cops and crime went down. It works. Let’s keep Clark County safe and with a properly manned fire department.

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