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Guest Column: Wake up Lehigh, fire department is in trouble

September 13, 2011
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Do you want a local fire department and ambulance service or do you want a bucket brigade and hearse?

The Lehigh Acres Fire District covers 143 square miles and has five fire stations, seven ambulances, and 117 firefighters and paramedics.

Our current response time for fire calls and medical calls is 6.96 minutes using two local and two county ambulances.

Article Photos

Ralph Hemingway

In this year's proposed budget, Chief Don Adams wants to lay off 34 fire employees and close two fire stations and turn the ambulance service over to county EMS.

In closing the two stations, the response time would increase so that the home owners insurance rate would increase about $500 per year. It could also mean that the homeowner insurance would fall into Zone 10 and his insurance would fall into the risk pool.

Our 6.9 minute response for medical calls will greatly increase under the county. This would then be above the national medical guidelines of seven minutes.

It is time for the people to come to the budget hearings and board meetings and voice their feelings.

We can still have a present work force and bright future if we sit down and talk matters over in a business-like manner.

What is your life and property worth?

-Ralph Hemingway is a former members of the Lehigh Acres Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners.



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