Dear Editor, community members, town and village board members
On Aug. 8, 2012, the Westfield Republican reported on the need for a water rescue vehicle for the Westfield Fire Department. It was brought to the board and community's attention by Trustee David Spann and was discussed at the meeting.
As firefighter's wives, whose husbands are often on the water rescue calls, we cannot stress enough the need for such a vehicle. Our community lies between two lakes and during the summer the fire department is toned out for water rescues, whether a boater or swimmer is in distress.
The "boat" our volunteers - somebody's husband, wife, son, daughter, mother or father - head out into the dangerous waters of Lake Erie to rescue others in is no more than a 14-foot blow up raft - a dingy, which is seriously underpowered for rough water. The conditions people often require rescue from is rarely safe or even ideal. As a boating family, we have learned to respect the lake and monitor the conditions, but yet when the whistle blows, the fire department heads out in big waves trying to save the lives of others, while risking their own.
We know our community traditionally supports the safety of our firefighters when responding to a house fire, a car accident or getting a loved one to the hospital quickly. Firefighter Jack Bills has written grants worth just shy of a million dollars to help support the fire department in acquiring tools and equipment to improve the safety of the department.
We are asking the community, village and town boards to earnestly work together to fund the purchase of a safe water rescue vehicle. A water rescue vehicle which will allow our firefighters to continue to do what they do best and their families, who are left at home, will worry just a little less because they have been provided with the appropriate resources to do their job safely and effectively.
Kendra Bills, Stephanie Janicki, Nicole Davies, Shannon Bills, Amanda Reese and Nicole Szymczak