On August 10th voters in Santa Ramona Valley passed by a 60% an initiative to transform the volunteer fire department into a mixed paid/volunteer department.
"The department is converting into a combination department, in which some staff will fill paid positions and we will also be keeping volunteer positions. My staff were given the option of filling the paid positions but I do have a few that will be remaining volunteer." said Chief Morpork.
The department will also take over the running of the Emergency Medical Services. “EMTs are restricted to paid positions, while people would be able to volunteer as fire fighters if they wanted. We also have a number of civilian positions that are paid, for the overall support and operation of the department."
One of the major selling points of an all paid department was a decrease in response time. The paid staff members would already be at the station when an alarm came in. As volunteers they would get the alarm and have to leave their other jobs or activities, travel to the station and only then could the department send out the truck and crew. With a mixed crew the response times are still likely to decrease.
"Those in paid positions are expected to man shifts, volunteers donate the time they want to. Response time should decrease with the availability of staff at the station, while volunteers should respond to the station to respond with an apparatus, however that could change as needs change. We only have two trucks." Chief Morpork responded when questioned about the expected changes in response time. “Any volunteers would have about five minutes to get to the station.”
He did mention that the two trucks were also getting a new paint job. The current yellow and green “John Deere scheme” was going to be replaced. “They will be going to a red base though, with a gray roof and white and gold stripes."