“Shortage of EMS/Fire volunteers is a serious matter,” blared the headline in The Pocahontas Times (Dec. 8, 2022, p.2), reporting on the December 6 county commission meeting.
Commissioner John Rebinski said that the [Fire and EMS] “departments in the northern part of the county are just weeks away from no longer being able to respond to all emergency medical or fire calls because of the lack of volunteers.”
According to the article, and a subsequent personal conversation with commissioner Rebinski, funds will need to be allocated to hire fire/EMS responders. He suggests cutting back organizations currently receiving Hotel/Motel funds to reallocate to emergency departments.
Mr. Rebinski’s valid point is that prompt, competent fire/EMS services can be a matter of life or death. Defense of the property and lives of our citizens is a government responsibility.
Congress last week voted to pass the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that authorizes an additional $80 billion military spending increase over the 2022 bill. The 2023 allocation is more than the combined military budgets of China, India, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Japan and South Korea. Just weeks earlier, the Department of Defense revealed that once again it failed its fifth consecutive audit, accounting for only 39% of its $3.5 trillion in assets.
Instead, if that $80 billion raise was reallocated to U.S. counties based upon population, Pocahontas County would have almost $2 million. A small portion of that would be enough to provide quality fire/EMS services for “the defense and security” of our own homeland neighbors.