Staffing Rescue first is the right thing to do

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We want to applaud Lebanon Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Meehan for his decision to staff rescue and not fire with per diem staffers.

Meehan told The Lebanon Voice on Wednesday that fire wasn't being staffed with per diem personnel as his budget proposal outlined to the public in March had indicated.

He said all along he had told selectmen that Rescue was the more important to staff and we agree.

Fire calls are down and we hope that Meehan will shepherd the dollars that have been allocated his departments and maybe even allow some back into the general fund come next July 1.

When The Lebanon Voice stated in an editorial prior to June voting that fire needn't be staffed, there were plenty of naysayers who cried that fire had to be staffed with per diems, too.

We wonder if those who railed against our plan in June are chiding Chief Meehan for not staffing fire. We doubt it.

Many don't realize that the number of medical calls far outweigh fire calls, and the potential for health and safety are greater, too.

And since the rescue crews are stationed at the Upper Cross firehouse, it should be possible for Rescue per diems to get the firetrucks warmed up so that when fire volunteers arrive, they don't have to do so.

This town is facing one of its biggest tax hikes in recent years come September.

We hope all town departments, including fire and rescue, will spend judiciously, as our town's elderly, many on fixed incomes, will bear the brunt of property tax misery when heating season comes around this fall just as tax bills are due.

- HT

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