Cuts Could Jeopardize Fire Programs in Arizona

Today I received an informational email outlining the immediate suspension of services provided by the Arizona State Fire Marshal’s Office.  I am waiting on more information about how these cuts will directly effect the Arizona fire service, but some mentioned in the announcement are obvious.

If some of you in the Arizona area  have more knowledge, please pass it on. Here is the announcement that the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association put out in regards to this issue:

Suspension of State Fire Marshal Programs

By: Arizona Fire Chiefs Association

Published: 1/8/2010

Dear AFCA Member:

Due to budget reductions and other mandates, the Office of the State Fire Marshal has immediately suspended several significant programs and implemented polices, procedures and processes which are necessary to reflect staff reductions in the Office. Specifically, 3 positions will be immediately vacated including two Fire Training Program Specialists and the State Fire Resource Coordinator. These reductions and mandates will eliminate all state training and certification programs as well as Fire Marshal support for the Statewide Mutual Aid Program, the NFIRS Reporting System and other major programs and activities.

In addition, the 2nd Annual Arizona Fire Instructors Conference, scheduled for April 8th and 9th in Mesa, and is a collaborative event between the AFCA and the State Fire Marshals Office, has been cancelled.

Some important questions I have is where will cadets and candidates get their state certification testing or will they be exempt from such requirements?

What will happen in jurisdictions that depend on state sponsored courses because of already small budgets and lack of resources?

Who is going to pay the price for the cuts and decrease in services and how much burden are the local agencies going to be expected to carry?

What is, or is there, a plan to reinstitute these services?  It is sad to say that typically once items are cut for budgetary purposes, they never come back.

Knowing the fire service like I do, they will adapt and overcome and the politicians will think that we are doing okay with what we have.  How far do they think we can be stretched until we break?

I will try to keep you updated on this, and some may already have more information than me. If you do, please pass it along. If Arizona has done this, then there will surely be more states looking to cut costs by slashing important services.

Stay safe out there and fight the good fight.

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