While that's good news for many federal employees who are directly or indirectly involved in the fire and emergency services, a few of the top stories on FireRescue1 today remind us that the U.S. economic recovery is still on shaky footing in states across the country.
As many local fire departments are starting or ending their budget development processes for the next fiscal year, it seems likely that we'll continue seeing news about budget cuts, layoffs and service reductions. The fiscal uncertainty caused by sequestration, the shutdown, and continued debate about the debt ceiling probably won't help matters.
Regardless of our personal political beliefs and affiliations, or who we think is at fault for this latest political crisis, it seems likely that legislative gridlock is probably not what we need to foster the economic recovery that will ultimately lead to a better fiscal situation for fire departments nationwide.
So what's the point?
We know that politicians and elected officials at all levels of government love to talk about supporting their fire departments. Firefighters are almost universally trusted in every community, and that often translates into visits from legislators during fundraisers, fire safety demonstrations and other events. Depending on where you live, work or volunteer, Washington, D.C. can seem very far away. Regardless of your location, however, it's important to stay aware of the effects, direct and indirect, of the shutdown and other federal issues on our local fire departments.
About the author
With more than two decades in the field, Chief Adam K. Thiel — FireRescue1's editorial advisor — is an active fire chief in the National Capital Region and a former state fire director for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Chief Thiel's operational experience includes serving with distinction in four states as a chief officer, incident commander, company officer, hazardous materials team leader, paramedic, technical rescuer, structural/wildland firefighter and rescue diver. He also directly participated in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Tropical Storm Gaston and Hurricane Isabel.
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