Sunday, February 02, 2014

Tension over role of volunteer firefighters in a far DC suburb

The Washington Post has reported recently about a controversy when the Prince Georges County MD (east of Washington DC)Fire Department added more regular firefighters, apparently spurning concerns about volunteer forces in more remote parts of the county. This was a story by Kynh Bui, “Uneasy allies: In Prince George’s, firefighter hires make volunteers nervous”, January 25.
But on Saturday, February 1, an LTE by Robert F. Dorr noted that firefighters should be on the clock, since we depend on them to save lives and protect private property, link here
The idea that more rural communities depend on volunteer firefighters has always, in my mind, created a moral issue about shared risk (rather like the old military draft).
 There were reports over a year ago the Washington Nationals star prospect Bryce Harper, raised in Nevada in the LDS Church, had wanted to serve as a volunteer fire fighter. That may not comport with a MLB baseball contract because of the risk.  The Washington Times had reported on Harper and the mission issue here, Sept. 27, 2013.  CNN had a story about the "clown question" asked of Harper after a spectacular home run in Toronto, where the drinking age may be lower, here back in 2012. 
These older ideas about shared, sometimes gender-related, moral responsibility don’t go away.

It's Groundhog Day, almost time for Spring Training! 

Update: Feb. 3

The Washington Post has a story where a rookie but professional firefighter in D.C. failed to respond to a medical emergency across the street, and where the formal protocol sent EMS to the wrong zone in the city. The Post called the firefighter "callous". 

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