STAMFORD, Conn. The following letter to the editor is from Stamford Mayor Michael Pavia. It outlines his proposed fire plan, which is now being reviewed by the Board of Representatives' Public Safety, Health and Welfare Committee. The Daily Stamford welcomes letters to the editor. They can be emailed to reporter Anthony Buzzeo at tbuzzeo@TheDailyStamford.com .
Stamford, with its wonderful people, diverse neighborhoods, vibrant businesses, esteemed educational and social institutions, deserves the best possible safety and protection from emergencies, both natural and man-made.
Assuring our safety for the past century have been countless brave volunteer and professional firefighters and rescue personnel. Paid or unpaid, there could not be better, more dedicated public servants who staff the Turn of River, New Hope-Glenbrook, Springdale, Long Ridge and Belltown Fire Departments and the five stations of the Stamford Fire and Rescue Department.
These firefighters have protected lives, homes and businesses time and again across this city, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their tireless and courageous efforts on our behalf.
Stamford today is far different from the city for which our current fire and rescue system evolved. What was a collection of residential villages, with an industrial core in the south and farmland in the north, has become an integrated residential and business community home to some of the worlds best-known companies, thousands of local businesses and unique neighborhoods where our more than 120,000 residents live and play.
As Stamford has grown and prospered, its needs have evolved as well. For our fire and rescue operations, this means having the resources and training to perform their jobs in all areas of the city, from our older neighborhoods and downtown commercial district to the far reaches of North Stamford and the growing neighborhoods near the Sound.
To ensure that Stamford can continue to provide firefighting and rescue services with the greatest efficiency and effectiveness possible, the city has worked for the past two years with our professional and volunteer fire and rescue companies on creating a new structure that meets the needs of 21st century Stamford.
Together, dedicated firefighters, city officials and community representatives have developed a comprehensive Fire Services plan which will increase professional supervision and training, efficiently deploy manpower and equipment, eliminate unnecessary and costly redundancy and ensure fast response time to emergencies.
This plan consolidates the individual and independent volunteer fire departments into one organization called the Stamford Volunteer Fire Department. It combines what were separate and distinct operations and resources into one unified organization. The Stamford Volunteer Fire Department has established a combined department with clearly established rules of operation and specific performance commitments.
The proposed Fire Plan will add significant benefits to our community:
- It provides increased public safety.
- It organizes and centralizes command and operational management.
- It mandates standardized training, qualifications and operating procedures.
- It increases fulltime personnel in the volunteer district.
- It maintains current staffing levels in the Stamford Fire & Rescue District.
- It provides for one contractual agreement between the city and the volunteer departments with strict performance standards.
- It resolves all outstanding litigation with the volunteer departments.
- It provides stronger financial accountability and greater transparency.
- And it represents an essential first step in our ongoing objective of improving fire services throughout the city.
There have been other proposals; each of them has been appropriately vetted and thoroughly reviewed, but none would provide the same immediate level and quality of fire protection services in a cost-effective and efficient manner as does the plan currently awaiting the Board of Representatives decision.
The new Fire Service Plan, a plan which has been carefully crafted over the past three years, ensures the service, quality and cost standards that the residents of Stamford deserve and expect. I, therefore, respectfully request the Board of Representatives to adopt the proposed plan without further delay. We owe it to our firefighters (volunteer and professional) and our citizens to ensure that we commit the necessary resources and incorporate the best available plan to improve and protect the safety and well-being of our city.
Michael A. Pavia
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