How Much Is a Firefighter Worth? NPR’s look at the closing of Contra Costa, CA firehouses sums up battle many firefighters face across the country.

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Fewer fires. More medical calls. Less money. Higher pension costs. Some of the factors NPR’s Planet Money cites as the reasons behind citizens failing to vote for a tax increase that could have prevented Contra Costa, California from having to close four fire stations.

Please take a moment to listen to the report titled, “How Much Is A Firefighter Worth?”. It talks a lot about the current perception the public has of firefighters and some of the reasons the firefighters failed to get the support of the community to stop the closings. Much of what you will hear is a story that firefighters all across the country can relate to. Many of you have been confronting similar situations over the last three or four years.

I am sure some of you won’t like what you hear and you may even think the reporters have parts of it wrong. But overall this idea of citizens possibly voting against their own safety in order to keep more money in their own pockets is the reality we are living with. The economy continues to shape the image of firefighters and the amount of risk to those firefighters and to their own families that the public is willing to accept.

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From Contra Costa Fire Protection District website.