Let your voice be heard
I attended the Rural Fire District Trustee meeting held on Feb. 10, and right from the start it was clear that two trustees were in favor of making the new fire station Fairgrounds a fully active station and the other two trustees sided with the fire chief in wanting it be used as a warehouse for brush trucks and old equipment and the city rescue boat.
One trustee was absent which made the board evenly split over many hotly contested issues. Trustees Laisy and Meslin wanted the fire chief to make it a priority to recruit and train fire fighters for the new station, but Trustees Clapp and Nelson sided with the fire chief and several Polson fire fighters in the audience.
I know there was talk about splitting the fire fighters and delaying response time to calls, but why be against recruiting and training to get the new station active?
Wouldn't the ideal fire protection be two active stations? Why did we, the residents, spend a quarter of a million dollars for a building if it's not going to provide added protection for the thousands of people living north of the bridge?
Recently, the bridge was closed for two attempted suicides and one extra-wide load. Fortunately, there apparently were no other emergency calls during those times. But what if a house north of the bridge had caught on fire? Big Arm Fire Company is 12 miles away and Irving Flats Fire Company is over 15 miles away.
I understand that you can't put new recruits onto fire equipment, but why wouldn't the fire chief be willing to assign some of the experienced fire fighters who live north of the bridge to that station to work with those recruits?
A Polson fire fighter suggested taking the fire engine from Big Arm and placing it in the new station rather than one engine from the city station. Don't we have some kind of agreement with Polson to share equipment? How will taking the engine from Big Arm give better protection to those residents?
Many of the issues before the board are critical to the district's fire protection, and have become contentious between the two points of view.
Rural fire residents — please pay attention. Do you want an active fire station north of the bridge? Do Big Arm residents want to keep their fire fighting equipment? Do residents south of the bridge want brush and grass fire-fighting equipment on the south side?
Please contact your trustees. Please attend the next trustee meeting and let your voice be heard.