Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Municipal bankruptcy fact of the day: Firefighters dont actually fight many fires


As Alex Tabarrok reports "Over the past 35 years, the number of fires in the United States has fallen by more than 40% while the number of career firefighters has increased by more than 40%".

Because there are so few fires to fight many cities have created new roles for firefighters to perform such that today most of what they do is accompany ambulances to the scene of medical emergencies.  As Taborrak suggests given the enormous cost of firefighters it is hard to believe that this is economically efficient.

The Orange County register reports that a recent grand jury found that less than 2% of calls responded to by OC firefighters were to actual fires.

Despite the fact OC firefighters don't actually fight many fires their salaries have exploded over the past decade:

In 2008 of the 814 firefighters in Orange county only 16% earnt less than $100,000 with over 60% earning over $125,000 and that is not including gold plated retirement benefits.

And people wonder we are in a financial mess and why citizens being asked to pay increased taxes might resent how it is being spent so wantonly?

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