New Report Shows Fire/Rescue Volunteers Save Montgomery County Tens of Millions of Dollars Annually
Volunteers Essential to Providing Cost-Effective Public Safety
A new report shows that highly trained and skilled volunteer firefighters, EMTs and paramedics save Montgomery County taxpayers more than $23 million in salary and benefit costs each year, while the local volunteer fire and rescue departments save millions of additional dollars through the purchase of vehicles and equipment and the use of fire stations that are owned by the Departments. "This report demonstrates how fire and rescue volunteers are essential to providing cost-effective public safety in Montgomery County," said Marcine D. Goodloe, President of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association, which compiled the report. "Without the commitment and service of volunteers, County taxpayers would pay tens of millions of dollars in additional taxes or the level of fire/rescue service would need to be drastically reduced," Goodloe added.
The report documents the savings from volunteers in three major areas: (1) salaries and benefits, (2) vehicles and equipment, and (3) operation of fire/rescue stations. According to the report:
"The report is thoroughly researched and more than adequately sourced," said Grant Davies, a member of the board of directors at the Bethesda Fire Department and lead author of the report. "It demonstrates, through hard data, that the volunteers are absolutely essential to the County's fire/rescue system," Davies noted.
While the report documents the cost savings in three major areas, Goodloe noted that the volunteers provide other essential services. "Volunteers provide 'surge' capacity during critical emergencies, such as during the recent grassfires throughout the County and this winter's numerous storms," said Goodloe. "While it's difficult to put a dollar value on the benefit of having dozens of trained and certified volunteer firefighters, paramedics and EMTs able to staff extra apparatus during major emergencies, we know it makes a major difference for County residents and is one of the reasons for the public's broad support for the fire/rescue system in the County.
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