New York Fire District Election Day for FIRE DISTRICT commissioners is Tuesday, December 11. Surprised? You are not alone. In 2010, only 20 people showed up to vote in the Monroe County Town of Brighton’s fire district election. The year before, only 19 voted in the county’s Town of Henrietta. These elections have a real impact on fire district tax rates, but few people vote in them.
By submitting Freedom of Information Law requests to several Monroe County towns in my own community, I was able to secure voter turnout for a number of fire district elections held in the past 3 years. Average voter turnout across these districts was under one-half of one percent—fewer than 5 of every 1000 registered voters cast ballots. Unlike the election day that just passed, there is no “Get Out the Vote” effort attached to fire district elections—these elections are little noted, unless there is a specific financial issue such as bonding for a large purchase. Read more »
Humanity has long sought to influence the course of death. Only in the last half century have we been able to postpone death by restarting a stopped heart. As a practicing paramedic, I have developed an insider’s view of sudden death and what happens at the end-of-life.
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs an estimated 295,000 times each year in the United States. Until 1960, there was no effective treatment for cardiac arrest and life ended at the instant the heart stopped. However, with the advent of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillators (AED), well designed emergency medical service systems, and advances in cardiac care in hospitals, there is now an 8.5% chance that a person who suffers a sudden cardiac arrest will survive to live a life similar to the one they had prior to collapse.
Are you surprised that the success rate is that low? Perhaps that’s because on television, 75% of patients in cardiac arrest survive. Happy endings make for better ratings, but they cloud the perception of the end of life and may encourage us to pursue resuscitation when we should let death take its course. Read more »
According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association and the United States Fire Administration, from 1995 to 2010:
- The number of residential building fires fell 15%.
- The number of deaths and injuries in residential fires fell 31%. [i] [ii]
- The number of paid firefighters increased by 30% and the number of volunteer firefighters decreased by 8%.[iii]
With the increase in dependence on paid staff, there has been an increase in cost for the fire service. From 1995 to 2008, the cost of Local Fire Protection has increased 65% to an inflation adjusted $39.7 billion.[iv] Read more »