This letter is being written to the citizens of Bethesda and Goshen Township. If you are not a citizen of these areas, I encourage you to continue reading because your local fire department can use the same help that we are asking for. Over the past few months, residents of the Bethesda FD coverage area have seen members going door to door handing out fliers. These fliers contained information asking the citizens for monetary donations to assist us in buying our members new turnout gear and self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs). While the support has been outstanding, we still are far from reaching our goal.
Everyday in the areas around you, a new structure is built. Whether it be residential or commercial, these structures are becoming more and more dangerous. As good as these structures are to the economy, they are twice as dangerous to firefighters. Everything is being built with components that quickly and dangerously combust. For an example, floor beams currently being used in new homes are glued plywood that will burn in half in around 7 minutes. The burning of these materials is causing cancer at even a higher rate. Cancer in firefighters has grown at an unbelievable rate over the past ten years. The only way to slow this rate is to properly fit firefighters with the latest personal protective equipment (PPE). NFPA is recommending gear to be replaced every 7-10 years. At Bethesda FD, we only have 9 sets of PPE that are in the 10 year window and our SCBA’s are 15 years old. That company has gone out of business and replacement parts are not available. That leaves the need for the Bethesda FD to purchase around 20 sets of PPE at $3,000 a set and 15 SCBAs at $8,100 apiece.
Bethesda FD is operated by the Village of Bethesda but unfortunately it is not funded by the village. The FD operates only from a 1.5 mil levy in Goshen Twp. and a 3mil levy in the village. We also receive funds from EMS billing and a couple additional township contracts. While this may seem like a large amount of money, this money must be used for payroll, utilities, and general maintenance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave money available to make the much-needed purchases. We have applied for the FEMA assistance to firefighters grant in 2017 to assist with these purchases but unfortunately, we were denied. Luckily over the past several years, we have been able to operate without having to place the burden of additional taxes/levies on our citizens. If we are unable to reach our goal through donations, our only option maybe to place the burden of additional taxes/levies on our citizens. We are asking each citizen to assist with this project even if it’s the smallest of donation. Even small amounts can help fund our department. We would like to give a very big thank you to the citizens who have already donated, your assistance is greatly appreciated! Help us keep the FD safe so we can help keep you safe.
Thanks for all your help!
Captain Dustin Roe and Bethesda FD members