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Podcast #209: Public Service Lay-Offs and Local Preparedness

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Lay-offs. Not a term we're used to talking about when it comes to emergency services and first responders. Not until recently, that is. The growing concern over state, city, and local government budgets as well as a Nation-wide fiscal crisis, have made the potential of public service lay-offs a reality.

Citizen groups and government officials are stammering about pay and benefits awarded to those who protect our lives and property and serve our communities.

"Why should firefighters get that retirement?"  
"Why should police officers get that type of health care?"

Those are just a few of the battle cries we hear from citizens who are struggling under an increasing tax burden and who may have been downsized (and lost everything) from the corporations they served.


While these questions should be (easily) answered; I think I bigger problem(s) exist.

  1. Local traditional responders will be the ones who will be there (or not) to save lives when a crisis or disaster hits. Not just for terrorism folks. For the natural disasters we've read so much about and for the routine, incipient events that are controlled and managed...that are kept from becoming the "big one".
  2. The willingness to cut public service responders...to "make them suffer, too" as one media outlet put it, is concerning. Look around. Chances are you'll see someone with a sticker on their car that says something like: "9-11-01 Never Forget". On 9-12-01 the first responders of this Nation were held up as a national treasure. Today, just shy of 10 years later...we're wiling to cut away that treasure to balance a budget. 
  3. Lastly...you wont know what you've got (had) until its gone.
Join Mitigation Journal co-host Matt Comer, special guest Alan Bubel, and me as we tackle the ramifications of public service lay-offs and the impact to local preparedness. This is a two part topic: in part one, Alan and Matt look at the ramifications from the fire and EMS perspective (MJ Podcast #209 release date 5/30/11). In part two, I'll examine the larger picture of local preparedness and we'll pull it all together under the All-Hazards approach in MJ Podcast #210 (release date 6/13/11).