Firefighters are back in demo mode

The Maui News – The Maui Fire Department resumed school visits and other community service events this month, after on-duty firefighters’ participation in those activities was suspended last year.

The suspension began July 1, 2016, because of budgetary restraints in fiscal year 2017, according to a Maui Fire Department news release. Firefighters were receiving overtime pay for some events.

“However, after weighing the costs against the benefits, and taking into consideration the feedback received from the public and from members of our department,” Fire Chief Jeff Murray decided it was in the best interest of the community to restore the events, said Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.

“The chief has decided it was beneficial,” he said.

At last year’s Maui Fair, with official participation suspended, firefighters volunteered to staff an incident management command post that coordinated with police, vendors and the fair association to serve as a central point in emergencies, Taomoto said.

Other formerly suspended activities included staffing fire safety booths, where information was handed out, at weekend craft fairs and other community events, he said. Lahaina firefighters were involved in reading books to children through a community program.

Information about requesting a site or school visit or Fire Department participation in events is available at or by calling the Fire Prevention Bureau at 867-4690.