Will Roanoke Fire-EMS Send Firefighters for Hurricane Relief?

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I have gotten about 20 phone calls today asking if the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department is sending personnel to assist with Hurricane Relief. From what I understand the question was posed to one of the top Brass of the Department and answered by stating that we haven’t been asked to send anyone so we aren’t going to, but FEMA HAS asked for our assistance along with every other Department in the Nation. I certainly hope that this does not reflect the Departments true stance. I do not think that the affected Departments, Governments, Counties, or States are going to get on the phone to call our Department to ask for help. I understand that in times of great tragedies there is a problem with First Responders self dispatching themselves to incidents. The problem with this is the the Locality where the incident occurred cannot provide for the basic necessities of these responders. I realize that the Department is shorthanded as it usually is, but there is a greater cause here. WE are the first responders and our brothers and sisters in the affected areas need OUR help to provide for their Citizens. What if we had a Tragedy that we could not handle? What if our families were affected? What if our families were traveling to other states to find adequate shelter while we stayed to do our job? What we did not have the personnel or supplies to do our job? Then think, what if we called for help…………….and nobody came. I realize that there are Firefighters, who volunteered to go, from everywhere going to help with Hurricane Relief through FEMA. But what if all of those Departments said “Well they haven’t called so we aren’t going to do anything“.
The fact of the matter is FEMA has asked for help.
The Federal Emergency Management Association has asked for 1000 2 person teams. The only requirements are that the responders are Career Firefighters and that they bring only carry on luggage. The application asks for the Chiefs approval and that approval is just as good as the usual prerequisite of proper certification and International Background Check. I can only assume that the purpose of 1000 2 person teams is that it will minimize the effect of manpower on the offering Departments. Another reason is that 2 person teams will be somewhat on their own, working as a bigger team in unfavorable conditions.
I do not see any reason why our Department has not applied to assist these localities who have experience a tragedy like no other. It is hard to believe that the areas impacted the hardest by Hurricane Katrina are basically “3rd World” now. This area will need assistance for a long time to come. There will probably be a continued need for Firefighters, EMT’s, and Police Officers. I will go tomorrow if I was allowed. I know of about 15-20 members of our Department who have said the same. I know that most of the Firefighters in the City of Roanoke would stop what they are doing to go assist. All they are asking for is 2 firefighters. Is that so much to ask for? I certainly hope that the Department will at least send in the application to send at least 1 team of 2 firefighters.

For more information check out FEMA, IAFF, or IAFC.

The Roanoke Fire Fighters Association is planning to collect at least $5 for the IAFF members affected by the Hurricane.

This photo and other photos from New Orleans can be seen at TampaBusiness.com. It kinda reminds me of the County fighting fire. Ha Ha. Just kidding guys………… this one is still standing.

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