For Immediate Release (Bridgeton, MO):
An official message from the Pattonville Fire Protection District Board of Directors and Fire Chief:
Recently, this Board of Directors and our Fire District leadership have been accused of misleading and lying to the public. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the past several weeks, an individual who is intent on becoming a member of the Fire District Board of Directors has launched a campaign of misinformation, deception and lies about your Pattonville Fire District and your Paramedic/Firefighters. This attack is solely intended to discredit your fire district and all of its employees in order to support his personal political campaign efforts. Since this started, the administration of the Pattonville Fire District has taken the high road but it is now necessary for this Board and the Fire Chief to respond.
Of utmost concern to us is that this individual’s attacks are aimed directly at the very men and women who will risk their lives to enter a burning home to save your mom or dad, your brother or sister, your daughter or son, or even your pets. The highly trained men and women of the Pattonville Fire District will immediately respond to your call for help in a fully staffed fire truck equipped with the best life-saving equipment available. They will come to your house to save the life of a family member suffering a heart attack, or a stroke, or dying from an overdose. It is shameful and disgusting to attack these dedicated Paramedic/Firefighters in this fashion.
Secondary to that concern is the shameful misrepresentation of the wages and benefits of your firefighters. The amount given as the “average compensation” is not only grossly inflated and erroneous, but in an effort to inflame the community, it is then compared to the “average income” of the area. On a very simple level, this is comparing two completely different items. The effort to claim that our insurance and pension costs equal nearly $60,000 per person is not only inaccurate and untrue, but also disingenuous, and the person making these claims knows it. He is only hoping that you will buy into his false narrative in an effort to get your support.
Your Pattonville Paramedic/Firefighters are committed to doing whatever it takes to answer your call for help and risk their own lives in the process. Firefighter line of duty deaths are a real threat that is faced every day in our business. Paramedics and firefighters also face the very real risks of anxiety, depression, suicide, higher rates of cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to the memories of the traumatic, tragic and deadly calls that they deal with every day and are unable to erase from their minds. Pattonville’s Paramedic/Firefighters have the skills and the commitment to lay down their lives for any resident of the fire district, any business occupant or any complete stranger just passing through. We employ the best of the best in order to provide the gold standard of service our residents and businesses deserve. Your Pattonville Fire District has attained the coveted Class 1 rating by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). This places Pattonville in the top 1% of fire departments nation-wide. Virtually NO ONE else anywhere in the country provides this level of service. In addition to emergency medical and fire calls, your Paramedic/Firefighters are also trained to respond to vehicle rescues, water rescues, ice rescues, major and minor flooding, electrical emergencies, active shooter events, hazardous materials incidents – even those at the Bridgeton and Westlake Landfills – and any other imaginable emergency. Your Paramedic/Firefighters will respond to any of these emergencies at any time – 3:00 in the afternoon, 3:00 in the morning, weekends and holidays - they are here for you 24/7/365. To claim that they are somehow overpaid for their efforts when we all know that the risk to their lives is very real is an insult to the men and women who do this job. The attacks being put out in the community are deceitful, grotesquely ill-intended and being put out solely for political gain. We, the Board members of the Fire District, are your neighbors and friends. We live in the community and take the responsibility of managing the Fire District’s finances extremely seriously! That is why we have been able to provide the Class 1 level of fire protection that less than one percent of the country can provide. All of your Paramedic/Firefighters genuinely believe that the area served by the Pattonville Fire Protection District is their community. Several employees originally grew up in this community and are Pattonville High School alumni and still bleed green (Go Pirates!). Even though the fine men and women of our fire district may live throughout the greater St. Louis Metropolitan Area, the Pattonville community is very much their home away from home!
What the issue really comes down to is ignorance and a lack of knowledge on the part of this person. There appears to be no limit to the extent and number of lies that he will spread in an effort to achieve his political goal. This man takes information provided to him, or information he finds on the internet, and then misconstrues it to fit his narrative. His “average compensation” numbers are just one example of his attempted deception.
Above all else, we as the Pattonville Fire District Board of Directors and Fire Chief want to assure our community that we employ Paramedic/Firefighters of the absolute highest caliber that hold true to the highest moral and ethical standards. These humble men and women will not be distracted by the attacks of this individual! We all will continue to do whatever it takes to provide you with the level of service that you expect and deserve. Please do not hesitate to call us the very second that you feel a need for our assistance. We always have and always will be there for you. As always, thank you for your continued support!
Chairman William Esterline
Treasurer Bob Soutier
Secretary Bob Biondo
Fire Chief Dave Dotson