New Collier commissioner gets up-close look at fire departments, EMS

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

As a newly elected Collier Township commissioner, I wanted to get to know our community's three fire departments and EMS services, which we as a community partially fund.

Meeting with this group of men and women prompted me to take a minute to share with the entire community the importance of their presence in not only our community but the entire region. As a resident of Collier Township for 12 years, I never took the time to realize their importance until now. They are amazing. Most of us do not think about them until there is an emergency, yet we should keep them at the forefront of our thoughts and take the time to visit the stations, meet them and give to them.

On Feb. 22, I took my family to tour both the Rennerdale and Kirwan Heights' fire stations. Not only were my children amazed at the state-of-the-art fire rescue equipment, I was amazed at the dedication and commitment that these men and women place on the line when we, as residents, call 911. They volunteer their time as firefighters and leave the safety of their environments and jobs to extinguish fires and secure our safety. Not only do they fight fires, but they also are a fully-equipped emergency medical service provider. They are trained to provide advanced life support (ALS — Kirwan Heights) en route to the hospital with a high level of professional expertise. Some of the firefighters are dually trained to be able to provide lifesaving paramedic-care even after the fire has ceased.

On March 1, I toured the Presto fire station. Again, it is an amazing place with people that are dedicated to helping us without knowing us yet when we call they are there.

I want to spread a message and to urge our community to take your families for a tour of any one of the three fire stations.

Although their services are done on a volunteer basis (save Kirwan Heights EMS department, which is staffed 24/7), they still maintain a budget that pays for new equipment and other necessary expenditures to save our lives and protect our community. Most of their equipment was gained through their efforts, some grants and some help from Collier Township. But in addition, these hard-working men and women fundraise to maintain other costs for the sole purpose of protecting us in the best way possible.

Consider their commitment to you and our community when offering donations. Your participation and contributions allow them to be able to respond to your needs within minutes of an emergency.

Wayne M. Chiurazzi is a Collier Township commissioner.

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