There has been a lot of talk lately of privatization of either fire service, EMS, or both in some communities. The thing about this choice to do so is that communities will suffer if the choose to do so. Why, do you ask? Because firefighting and even EMS is not a sustainable business model. There is no money to be made from firefighting and really pretty little money to be made from EMS.

The problem I see with privatization of these crucial services within our communities is that they will hire people at a lower cost and what are you going to get? These people who will work for these companies and won’t make enough to support their family. Then they will have to pick up a side job or two to make ends meet. Do you see a problem with that?

It may not be a big deal to you, and yes many firefighters have second jobs, but they usually do so to have extra money. They can support their families without that side job. So theoretically these firefighters will focus on their full time job and be ready for that big call. Do you want an exhausted firefighter or paramedic showing up to your call?

Privatization can be helpful in other aspects of government, but not critical services. There is no profit to be made from critical services. We need public safety services to be a government function. You won’t hire a private eye or security guard to investigate your minor crimes, would you? Why should we allow our government representation do this to our communities?

Sometime our city counsel or trustees forget they work for the people and we the people can make sure they won’t have a job after election day. Let’s make sure we let our government know we don’t want privatization of critical services! We are turning back the clock on this issue and it’s not beneficial to our communities. In the 1700s people would pay private companies to protect their homes during a fire, we have evolved from then, right?

Next time you hear someone in your community talking about how privatizing your public safety services, make sure you think long and hard what your community will be giving up to save a few bucks on taxes.

About the Author: Nick Magoteaux is the Co-Executive Director and President of Brothers Helping Brothers. Nick has over 15 years of experience in public safety and is a student of the fire service. Nick has studied leadership extensively over the last few years and is always trying to find something new to introduce to his local fire service brothers.

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