Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Reason Why The U.S. Deficit Is So Large

From What's a tiny volunteer fire company in Bensalem doing with a $1 million taxpayer-funded fireboat tricked out to troll the Delaware River for blazes, bodies, terrorists, and IEDs?
Nothing, besides preening for festival crowds and crashing into objects seen and unseen.
The tale of how the dysfunctional Union Fire Company won a wad of Homeland Security money to buy a state-of-the-art terror-taming boat screams post-9/11 planning at its nuttiest.
The volunteers' bold play to dabble in regional law enforcement has soured relations with Bensalem's paid police department. Two Union chiefs have resigned as a result of boat acrimony and embarrassing accidents. And just maintaining the vessel is draining the fire company's meager resources.
Bensalem locals talk endlessly about the imposing 40-foot, 25,000-pound "Bear on the Delaware" that has been prowling all year but has yet to fight a fire or sniff out a bomb. But no one who had a hand in the grant seems upset that volunteers own a dream machine that may be the death of the company.
Union members insist they "aren't yahoos," but rather, everyday heroes risking their lives for free. Yet even the chief admits they look like showboaters on the big-boy toy.
With fewer than 30 active members - only a handful of whom even live in Bensalem - Union already "scratches," or fails to respond to, nearly a third of its emergency calls. When they make rare marine runs, it's usually to recover bodies. Until this year, the firefighters took off in a modest motorboat to guffaws at a nearby yacht club.
"They're horrible. It's like a comedy of errors when they launch," says Bill Burke, the club's former commodore. "I've seen them put a boat in without the plug in."
I am a former volunteer firefighter and some of the departments I was on had lakes and rivers in the district and i just cannot fathom a volunteer fire department operating such a complex
But it also shows how FEMA and others threw money around after 9/11. Write a good grant and you could have almost anything and the same holds true today, for the most part.  The fed's will fund almost any police or fire department request, as long as the grant is written properly and there is a possibility the equipment will be used.  The fed's have bought turnout gear, gloves, air tanks, fire trucks, helmets, fire boats, hire firefighters full time and much more.  Never mind that many pieces of equipment, like this fire boats are never used or communities can not support when they are required to pay their salaries 2 years after the awards are given.  And it is stupid that the Union can not sell their boat to another fire or police department that may actually use the fire boat.
So, here we have another $1,000,000 down the drain, but hey, it's only taxpayer money and that doesn't count.

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