In regards to our local volunteer fire department chiefs signing their county contract “under duress,” because of having to pass a physical, the old saying “There’s no free lunch” comes to mind. Back in November of 2008, the County Supervisors approved the reorganization of backcountry fire agencies into one county agency as of June 2009. Thus, the San Diego County Regional Fire Authority was born which unified six existing backcountry volunteer agencies (which includes Intermountain Fire and Rescue Department and San Pasqual Volunteer Fire Department) and is under the Department of Planning and Land Use (DPLU). By sharing resources, setting up mutual aid agreements and streamlining command and control structures, emergency response time should vastly improve along with surge capacity. Along with this also comes a $15.5 million budget which the volunteer agencies get access to. Each station will receive a stipend (fixed pay) for two volunteers per day while on duty and $30,000 toward operation costs which could be used toward equipment and the like. Once fire department volunteers pass the physical, they will be covered under the county’s workers compensation should they be injured on the job. Whenever you’re dealing with county money there is a price to be paid, and in this case it’s a good thing—first, firefighters whether they are volunteer or not need to be in good physical shape, and second, if they get hurt in the line of duty, they need to be taken care of.
Rants & Raves—Charles Teichert
How the residents and merchants of Ramona, even during these tough financial times, continue to generously support all of the charities and non-profit groups as we all strive to improve Ramona!
About those unsightly yellow plastic bags that are still laying on the ground containing phone books—if the residents don’t want them, pick them up and recycle them. Let’s keep Ramona looking clean and green!