Local politics can be as illogical as Washington's.

Look at Lansford, as an example.

The borough council there opted to eliminate marked parking spaces in front of the homes of the town's three fire chiefs.

Many municipalities allow fire chiefs to have their own parking spaces. It makes sense, especially for the winter months, that when the alarm sounds for an emergency that they can respond as quickly as possible.

In Lansford, the fire chiefs don't get any monetary compensation. So why not let them have at least the benefit of their own parking space?

One report we've gotten is that Mayor Ronald Hood, who is an assistant chief, hasn't been getting along with all the council members. Some people are wondering if the council's actions against all the chiefs are because of this.

Is this a case of letting political differences overcome common sense?

Hood had undergone surgery and for a few months wasn't responding to emergencies because he couldn't drive. He still is a fire chief. Reportedly some council members used this as a reason for removing the parking space designations.

Because an employee is off from work for health issues, his desk isn't taken out the office.

And, what does this have to do with the other chiefs?

Let's look at the winter scenarios in towns such as Lansford. In the residential areas, parking is often at a premium. As a result, individuals sometimes have to park at the opposite end of a block from their homes.

In the case of a fire chief, it means longer response time to get to the scene of an emergency and direct the responders - who, incidentally, are all volunteers.

The fire chiefs generally shovel out their own parking spaces and try to stay prepared for emergencies. Again, this is done without compensation.

Is there no appreciation from the council?

Lighten up, borough council! Even if there are personality clashes, keep the rhetoric and actions to political issues and not the safety of the community.

Firefighters respond any time of the day or night - at 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon - in any kind of weather. It's the weather factor which makes the most argument for letting fire chiefs park in front of their residences.

The fire chiefs in Lansford aren't asking for a lot in wanting to keep their parking spaces. They are sincere in wanting to do their job the best they can, and the only way they can do that is the ability for the fastest response possible to an emergency scene.

Immediately upon arriving on the scene of an emergency, a chief determines if mutual aid should be called, what type of attack should occur if it's a fire, how much personnel is needed, what type of apparatus should be dispatched, but mostly, is there entrapment and if so, how rescue should occur in the most expeditious manner.

Fire safety shouldn't be political. Matters pertaining to it should be decided on logic.

Restoring the parking spaces to the fire chiefs would be the logical thing to do. The borough council should act on this matter, and restore the parking space privileges, as quickly as possible.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com [1]