Rurally Speaking: Down South Rural—Way Down South by Carl Haddon
Rurally Speaking: Down South Rural—Way Down SouthMost who read this column have some involvement or interest in the rural fire service and its community. Here in the United States, we often find ourselves with similar rural challenges of departmental issues like staffing, morale, volunteer retention, training, and the seemingly ever shrinking department and district budgets. Costs of goods and services continue to rise, and our budget numbers and revenues never seem to quite keep time with our needs. All the while, we continue to work hard to mitigate our financial and operational challenges, so as to be the best that we can be for those we serve, while keeping our members as safe and as well trained as possible.
For those of you who work tirelessly toward bettering your rural department, and have been on committees for, or dealt with some of the rural challenges listed above, I offer you the opportunity to buckle your seat belt, and join me on assignment here in rural Costa Rica. In the shadow of FDIC International, take in some of this country’s rural fire service challenges, and think of what you might do to help mitigate these daily operational issues. Perhaps your own plight may not seem so tough as you ride along with me through the harrowing streets of the pacific coast of rural Costa Rica.
My brother and sister bomberos (firefighters) here in Costa Rica are as passionate about their craft as you and I, or any dedicated volunteer or career firefighter anywhere in the world. The climate here is very tropical, with high humidity and temperatures that average in the mid to upper 80s most of the year. Here, there are basically two seasons; hot and dry. November to beginning of April is the hot season and April through October is the hot season. Wearing traditional bunker or turnout gear here is a real treat. More important is the availability of water. Hydrants outside of “cities” are few and very far between. Drafting water during the dry season can be challenging at best. When you can find a body of water to draft from, you often find yourself sharing that body of water with unhappy cocodrillos (crocodiles). No, I’m not kidding.
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