Holding the line

We must understand that what happens in DC can have a major impact on lives and property in 'Anytown, USA'

As the (next) national debate over the federal budget looms ahead, programs to support local fire and emergency services are once again part of the dialogue.

Firefighters in the United States, like everybody else, are entitled to their opinion(s) about federal spending, deficit reduction, taxes, fiscal policy, the proper role of government, etc.

As we engage in these discussions as private citizens, it's important to understand that what happens in Washington, DC, can have a major impact on lives and property in "Anytown, USA."

Given the trusted status of firefighters in our communities, I think we all have an extra duty and responsibility to become well-educated about the relevant issues before weighing-in with our neighbors, friends, and elected officials.

We must also remember that regardless of federal policymakers' eventual decisions about which programs to fund, and at what levels, local fire and emergency services across our nation will remain to "hold the line" against the ravages of fire and other hazards.

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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