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NOTICe and NECA Send Joint Letter to the Mayor and City Council to Save Fire Engine 204
March 31, 2014
Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council:
We are writing to express the deep concern of many of our members over the budget proposal to remove Fire Engine 204 from Station 204.
Budget documents admit that this action will increase response times on the City’s east side. In fire and other emergency situations, seconds count. Therefore, many residents of the area served by Engine 204 realistically fear a significant loss in protection if this proposal is adopted. They are also dismayed to learn that the removal of Engine 204 is to occur before the city studies the deployment of equipment and personnel in relation to call volume. The city manager says this study will not be completed until FY 2016, after Engine 204 is moved. Also surprising to area residents is that this proposal comes at a time when the north and northeast parts of Alexandria are experiencing a substantial increase in residential and commercial development. Combining this increase in the number of new buildings with the large number of existing older structures that are more vulnerable to fire damage in a short time makes this proposal more puzzling. Finally, we have recently discovered that the area in which Engine 204 currently resides is plagued by substandard water pressure, significantly lower than on the West End, making the immediate availability of the pumping power of multiple fire engines critical here.
We understand the financial problems facing the city and appreciate the difficulty in balancing the budget. However, public safety is the highest priority of governments al all levels. All sectors of Alexandria deserve fire and EMS protection that meet or exceed national standards, which this budget appears not to do.
We urge you to revise this budget so that all Alexandrians can feel secure that their lives and property are protected. This can occur only when all sectors of the city receive protection equal to the highest standard.
Mary Jane Kramer. President, NorthEast Citizens' Association
Tom Soapes, President, NOTICe