As a former firefighter of nearly 30 years, I cannot begin to express in a letter the importance of the upcoming Orange Township Fire Department levy, not only for the employees of the department but for all of us as homeowners and/or residents.

To the Editor:

As a former firefighter of nearly 30 years, I cannot begin to express in a letter the importance of the upcoming Orange Township Fire Department levy, not only for the employees of the department but for all of us as homeowners and/or residents.

Every day of the year, a group of 12 to 14 men and women are responsible for the lives and property of over 25,000 residents along with several thousand visitors, workers and people passing through the area. That's a lot of responsibility considering they never know from one minute to the next what it is they will be facing until you call 911.

Think about the diversity of Orange Township. You have a portion of a major interstate (I-71), a heavily traveled U.S. highway (Route 23), several miles of rural and residential roads, a large body of water (Alum Creek), rural areas without hydrants, densely populated subdivisions with high-value homes, commercial structures that total millions of square feet, two high schools, two junior high schools, several grade schools and day-care centers, as well as a population that ranges from the very young to the very old. With this kind of diversity and responsibility, the firefighters/paramedics of this department are expected to be trained to handle situations in every one of those categories.

The department heads know this, and as a result, the personnel are highly trained to handle the worst in all areas of fire, rescue, EMS, prevention and education. Unfortunately, that comes with a high cost.

I could include in this letter a huge list of the costly figures and cite why it has become so expensive, but the simple fact of the matter is this: Orange Township Fire Department is not wasting your money. You have to trust that they are spending your money wisely and effectively. They have never let you down before; why would they start now?

Levy funds are being used to provide you with the best and safest equipment in order for your firefighter-medics to accomplish each and every situation they face. It's completely to your benefit that they can perform their jobs with expertise and professionalism. Cutting their funds or not allowing this levy to pass will only serve to damage what all has been accomplished since the inception of the department.

Even with the tough economic times in this country, Orange Township continues to thrive. Please allow your Orange Township Fire Department to keep up with that growth by voting "yes" Nov. 6.

Kevin Arnold
Orange Township