Fire Department requests essential to protect island

Fortunate and grateful. That’s what most of us in West Maui ought to be feeling after the recent hurricane and fires.

This is all because of the tireless work of the entire Maui Fire Department, Maui Police Department, National Guard and various federal, state and county agencies.

The reason many of us are alive and in our own homes is because of the heroic work of these civic workers. And, I can tell you reliably that the next person responsible for actually saving your life will probably be a fireman, paramedic, lifeguard or policeman, not a medical doctor like myself.

Recently, the County Council adopted the budget for fiscal year 2019 which in many areas cut the funds requested for Maui Fire Department equipment, manpower, and training. The requested items and amounts are absolutely necessary for the effective protection of our island, and in no way extraordinary or superfluous. We should expect to periodically have large fires that start in brushy areas because of the elimination of irrigated agriculture.

The council’s final adopted budget has not yet been posted on the county website. However, here is a link to the mayor’s approved budget for 2019; the Fire Department and Public Safety section starts on Page 235; www.mauicounty.gov/DocumentCenter/View/111954/00000_Combined-Program-Budget

So, thank a firefighter today, but also please contact your favorite County Council member and express your concern in funding the Fire Department’s work. It may just save your life.

Norman Estin

Lahaina

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