An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureBy Bruce Whetten
Douglas Dispatch Managing Editor
My grandmother once told me “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Those words are sticking in my mind right now as Douglas Fire Chief Mario Novoa is trying to encourage the Douglas City Council to proceed with the purchase of an Aerial Ladder Apparatus Fire Truck.
Early estimates indicate the truck would cost between $1-1.2 million. There is concern that the city cannot afford such an expense at this time.
Chief Novoa has stated the fees would be paid out over a seven to eight year period and would average out to $150-$163,000 annually which City Treasurer Luis Pedroza confirmed.
Plus Pedroza is saying the money for the truck would come out of the Special Projects Fund and would not hurt the city’s regular budget at this time.
Several members of the current city council are hesitant to make such an investment considering a new mayor, council members and city manager will be coming into office this summer.
While those concerns are valid and can be understood, I can also speak from personal experience as to how valuable this truck would be to the citizens of Douglas and waiting could affect the overall price.
I was at the fire in June 2006 when three houses burned to the ground. And I had just been named Managing Editor here at the Dispatch when we had the raging fire at a downtown store last August. I thought for sure there was going to have more damage than what we did especially when that building exploded. I could feel the heat and my thought was “God, keep these guys safe.” Then there was the fire at the old Phelps Dodge warehouse located behind the Douglas Police Dept. in February 2009.
All three fires could have been helped by having such a truck. Remarkably our fire fighters did a heck of a job in all three cases of not only keeping the fire from doing any more damage that it did; they also did a tremendous job of keeping themselves safe.
Many businesses, like the Douglas Dispatch and the hotel next store, not to mention Wal-Mart, the Gadsden and the Best Western Hotels and even the average two story home, would benefit from having such a truck on hand.
This truck will help protect the other buildings that could be in jeopardy plus it should help protect our fire fighters. Losing one life is losing one too many.
As times change, needs change and this is one of those times. The expense is high but how much would you spend for security?
Could the money be used elsewhere? Yes it probably could but Chief Novoa has gone public with how outdated a lot of the DFD’s equipment is. The latest model they have is a 2001 E-One.
It’s like having insurance on your home. You hope you never need it but if something should happen you’re sure glad you do.