Upsetting comments from the ACEL Fire Chief

Dear editor,

As a recently retired member of the Emo Fire Dept. with over 20 years of service I found the comments by Chief Griffith of the A.C.E.L Fire Departments on B93 radio regarding practice numbers upsetting.

I have spoken to several firefighters from A.C.E.L and was told practice numbers have been hit or miss across the four departments lately so I am curious why Emo was singled out in the interview. Perhaps it has something to do with the majority of senior members leaving the Emo department in recent months which has resulted in low numbers of personnel.

For the chief to say people are not coming out to practices because the call outs are “simple non events” is disrespectful to the dedicated members of A.C.E.L. The vast majority of the members that make up A.C.E.L are not doing it for the “exciting calls”. They are doing it because they want to serve the communities they call home. They are not a bunch of thrill seekers and for the Chief to say “the pager goes off and it’s a lack of excitement pulling them away from the dinner table” is ridiculous. Most firefighters would rather be called off a response and return home or to their job than spend hours at a structure fire or a motor vehicle collision.

I have found if the practices are engaging, interesting and members are learning effective, proper firefighting techniques then members will attend.

I suspect that calling out your members on a radio interview isn’t going to help matters going forward and will only drive more people away.

Thank you for the space in your paper.
Rick Vanderaa