In the past 24 hours, we've had two 5 alarm fires in Baltimore City. Mutual aid was called in from the surrounding jurisdictions to cover the areas depleted of fire apparatus and personnel. We cannot continue to close fire companies due to economic circumstances. The taxpayers pay for peace of mind and assurance that the fire department will respond with sufficient resources to extinguish a blaze and protect both the properties and the citizens of Baltimore.
Yes, we're an overhead expenditure, but the nature of our business makes our organization (and the police department) the top priority when it comes to providing services that affect the safety and wellbeing of every citizen in Baltimore City.
We're no different than a personal insurance policy. The premiums are paid, there's safety and comfort in knowing that one has coverage, and most hope it never has to be used. However, if there's a need to utilize that insurance, the taxpayer deserves the full coverage that he or she is paying for.
Bonnie Matthews, Baltimore
The writer is a paramedic in the Baltimore City Fire Department.