Note, the below is a letter-to-the-editor in response to the decertification of the Orgontz Fire Company by Cheltenham Township’s Board of Commissioners in December. It was slightly edited for clarity.
As a Cheltenham Township resident, decorated firefighter, and past fire chief, I was concerned about comments made by Daniel B Norris, president of The Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners, on why Ogontz Fire Company should be terminated.
Station 5 is an engine and heavy rescue company. During my career, I have worked with RESCUE 5 trying to extricate and save subjects who are crushed like bugs trapped in a vehicle or need to be rescued period. The pride, knowledge, dedication, and compassion that these firefighters exhibit in an extremely difficult life-saving situation is spectacular. To personally witness the harm of the human body in this situation when seconds count is essential.
Eliminating Rescue 5 or any rescue company will in no way improve public safety in Cheltenham Township. This is an inaccurate statement. The township will not be more resilient and stronger. These two words don’t belong associated with fire safety.
Having a heavy rescue company in the fire service is an achievement for any community or city. To discontinue public service when seconds count is illogical. The commissioners should witness these incidents which occur anytime day or night no matter what the weather conditions might be.
Another point is what happens when other rescue companies are responding to multiple calls?
A heavy rescue company should not be terminated just for the reason of saving money. The life and safety of everyone living or passing through Cheltenham Township should be paramount.
Businesses that do studies on volunteer companies should cease. This nonsense has been going on for many many years. All the public sector wants is help or be rescued quickly. We all do this for gratis. Let the commissioners join the ranks to help and serve instead of putting money in front of human life. For any person or persons who consider what the commissioners are considering is absolutely wrong. The brotherhood of public service takes precedence. This should never be an issue.