Community shows support for firefighters following potential layoffs
COLUMBUS, Ga. -
Support is strong for local firefighters after the announcement of potential budget cuts and lay-offs. As part of EMS Appreciation Day, Columbus Regional hosted a luncheon to honor the fire department, rescue personnel, and law enforcement.
Training Captain Paula Carter is one of the many firefighters concerned about budget cuts. She said the discussion at the luncheon wasn't about the burgers, baked beans, or cake, but it was potential budget cuts at the forefront of everyone's mind.
"We hear about budget cuts and we hear possible cuts in personnel, and it makes us feel unsafe about our jobs at times," she said.
One of the reasons Columbus Regional hosted the luncheon was to show their support of the firefighters and EMS.
Lauren Kubik, the Trauma Coordinator at Columbus Regional, says lay-offs would be toxic to the community and wants to show the firefighters, EMS, and police how much they're appreciated.
"Our community is growing and the service they're providing is a dire need," she said. "When my family calls 911, I want to know they're going to be there."
And they will be there; it just might be a little slower. Captain Paula Carter explains slower response times could be a consequence of lay-offs.
"No one wants to hear that," Carter said. "They want to hear services increasing and getting better and the city being able to prosper. When you start talking about budget cuts, we can't progress, we can't move on."
The fire department needs to cut its budget by $715,000. With 90 percent of the budget going for personnel, the only way to save that amount is to let people go. A budget must be adopted by July 1st.