Texas Severely Cut Back Funds for Volunteer Firefighters Earlier in the Year
Via KVUE in Austin from March 23, 2011: Volunteer firefighters in Texas struggle with financial crisis
State funding for volunteer fire departments is taking a big hit. It is going from $30 million to $7 million. Those departments are already facing financial strains.
The State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas represents 21,000 state firefighters. The Association says more than 80 percent of volunteer firefighters are reporting taking a personal hit in the budget crisis. They have started using their own money to help pay for equipment and supplies.
“We’ve seen budget cuts, but this is the worst time that we’ve ever seen,” said Executive Director Chris Barron. “As far as the budget crisis and the fuel cost stuff for example continues to go up and it doesn’t help us out any whatsoever, so with the rising fuel and the budget cuts from the state it’s taken a great effect. I think the citizens and the public is going to see that.”
Most of the State of Texas is protected by volunteer departments. There are 879 volunteer departments compared to 114 paid departments and 187 departments that are a combination of both paid and volunteer firefighters.
The story notes that some bills were before the legislature that might alleviate some of the above-described problems, but I do not know if they were passed or not (given the austerity in Texas this year, I am guessing not).
This is combination of an example of bad timing and of the consequences of pretending like cuts to services have no impact.