Congressman Donates His Salary To Fire Department During Shutdown
By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Whether it’s a small- and large-scale emergency, public safety is critically important for any society. But despite its importance, there have been unfortunate budget cuts for emergency management in recent years. At the same time, there have been growing recruitment and retention problems for emergency medical services agencies in some parts of the U.S.
Budget cuts have become a terrible reality. Proper emergency management can be expensive, particularly when emergencies exceed the resources that are already allocated.
Orange County, Virginia, serves as an example. Its Board of Supervisors “unanimously adopted an emergency ordinance dissolving the Orange County Rescue Squad as an independent emergency medical services agency” in 2017. The decision to permanently close operations was the result of not having enough volunteers to manage its 911 calls.
It is for these very reasons that a recent decision by Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA) is special. According to Live Hour 360, the congressman has donated his salary to a volunteer fire department during the government shutdown.
Such a donation is tremendously helpful for volunteer public safety organizations. More importantly, Riggleman’s gesture contributes to the overall belief that public safety organizations are vital and need more support from the community as a whole.
Will Riggleman’s Contribution Shift Public Perception of EMS?
Public safety agencies in recent years have had a number of uphill battles on budget cuts, recruitment and retention issues. They have also experienced public relations problems with the way that emergencies were handled.
There has been an emphasis on tightening the overall management of emergencies, but with these changes come many administrative shifts in the local, state and federal levels of government. These changes also require that the general public support public safety efforts, a difficult issue to overcome considering the myriad factors affecting public safety as a whole.
Congressman Riggleman’s charitable decision, however, certainly puts public safety into a positive light. Hopefully, it will have positive repercussions on how the public perceives the importance of emergency medical services.