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Privatized Firefighters: Public Good? — Public Bad!

“A Tennessee couple helplessly watched their home burn to the ground, along with all of their possessions, because they did not pay a $75 annual fee to the local fire department.”

Tennessee family home burns while firefighters watch

Wow, $75 dollars and the firefighters stood by as the house went up in flames…I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this turn of events! What makes a good a public good?  Do you think fire safety should be available to all, or just those that pay for it?  If you say everyone, are you willing to raise taxes to support it?  If you say just those who pay, are you willing to live with outcomes such as this?  

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17 comments on “Privatized Firefighters: Public Good? — Public Bad!

  1. Hyejin Helen Yi
    January 23, 2012

    This article really saddens my heart. I believe the fire safety should be available to all. First of all, it is not ethical, especially if you are a firefighter, to just stand there and watch the house burn down to pieces. From US News this is not the first time. How can one be so cruel and not help out, especially if you know how to help them out. Has our society gotten so cruel to not have the heart to help out the people in need? If there is a forest fire, I’m sure the firefighters would do all their might to get the fire out. So, why is it so difficult to take a fire out of one home? Also, 75 dollars a year can be burdening to a poor family. There are many people in America who are suffering from job loss, and having to have 3 part time jobs to pay for their bills and groceries. I can understand if we are paying for our water and electricity bills, but having to pay a fee to the fire department is just outrageous. I thought public safety was available to everyone in America. I’m willing to pay extra taxes if this is the only way everybody gets to get the benefits from the fire department. This article just reminded me again that, “Every man for himself”.

  2. Valerie Jenkins
    January 23, 2012

    A “good” benefits can’t be limited and has to be available to all in order to be a public good. I think that fire safety should be available to everyone. By not offering everyone fire safety we are putting lives and surrounding properties in danger. I think before we consider raising taxes we should take a look at having the residents that chose to opt out pay a fine on top of the $75 annual fee to have their fire put out. In \2010 in the same county Gene Cranick offered to pay the fee and they declined his offer. The result was his neighbor’s house caught fire, which, could have been avoided. In nearby Blount county the residents have a $110 annual fee, for those who choose to opt out they can pay the fire department $2,200 for the first two hours firefighters are on scene and $1,100 for each additional hour. If it came down to increasing taxes it honesty would depend on the tax increase. I question how much money was actually spent to have the firefighters come out to watch Vicky Bell’s home burn down?

  3. Jay Mehta
    January 24, 2012

    In my opinion Public goods mean; An item whose consumption is not decided by the individua lconsumer but, by the society as a whole, and which is financed by taxation.And in this case of firefighters, they are public servants, they are suppose to help our community in any kind of situation. But the above story just proves that wrong. Just for not paying $75, firefighters watched someones house get burned, no one can imagine that from fighters. This just says that they are a puppet of government.

    Public Good
    Fire Service – A Public Good?

  4. Young Cho
    January 24, 2012

    Although Vicky Bell’s family did not pay the annual fee for the local department, it is simply outrageous that fire fighters just stood by and did nothing. This is the truth of how America has turn sensitive about rasing taxes. Government wants more income out of people rather than helping helpless people like bell’s family. Our economic has changed now that if we do not pay the proper taxes, we cannot live in a safe enviroment. If we do not pay, it is useless to call 9-1-1 when people are in danger.To make a good public good, it can start with providing necessary goods that cannot be achieved by individuals. Fire safty should be available to all regardless of their situation. I am willing to raise taxes to support it because it is better to pay some more taxes than this outrageous outcomes that destroy peoples ” happiness” and their valualble possessions.

    Public Good

  5. Sabrina Banks
    January 24, 2012

    Wow. This is a really interesting topic and I am going to take the side of the couple. While reading Conservative Ideological Debate, I understand that a firefighter is just merely convenient services for the public but does that still give them the right to watch someone’s home burn to the ground? Williamson states, “The world is full of jerks, freeloaders, and ingrates — and the problems they create for themselves are their own. These free-riders have no more right to South Fulton’s firefighting services than people in Muleshoe, Texas, have to those of NYPD detectives.” Now with that statement, If the same situation were to happen to him how would he feel? I think that fire safety should be available to all. I would also raise taxes to support it and try to bring compassion back to the hearts of americans.

  6. Valerie Jenkins
    January 25, 2012

    A “good” benefits can’t be limited and has to be available to all in order to be a public good. I think that fire safety should be available to everyone. By not offering everyone fire safety we are putting lives and surrounding properties in danger. I think before we consider raising taxes we should take a look at having the residents that chose to opt out pay a fine on top of the $75 annual fee to have their fire put out. In \2010 in the same county Gene Cranick offered to pay the fee and they declined his offer. The result was his neighbor’s house caught fire, which, could have been avoided. In nearby Blount county the residents have a $110 annual fee, for those who choose to opt out they can pay the fire department $2,200 for the first two hours firefighters are on scene and $1,100 for each additional hour. If it came down to increasing taxes it honesty would depend on the tax increase. I question how much money was actually spent to have the firefighters come out to watch Vicky Bell’s home burn down?

  7. Morenallson Constant
    January 25, 2012

    A good public good serves everyone in an evironment, no matter what your sex, income, gender, etc is… Personally and rightfully, I think that fire safety should be available to every individuals that is a part of a society system, Let say for example they were kids in the house, I wonder how their conscious would feel afterward for loosing lives for $75.
    Good that doesn’t exclude anyone
    A public good is a product which is put in place to serve individuals without exclude anyone base on characters or whatever else that define them as a person.

  8. John Posso
    January 26, 2012

    It is very sad to hear a story like this in the Unites State. A public good is a good that cannot be limited to a specific group and it’s available to everyone. For example, clean air is a public good; everyone can enjoy clean air without limiting someone else’s. Some other examples of public goods are roads, national security, and clean water. After reading a short article explaining the evolution of fire safety since colonial America, I am reassured that fire safety should be a public good. In colonial America, there was not an organized fire department, neighbors would help each other in case of fire emergencies; this proved to be very unsuccessful. Later private fire protection companies emerged and would provide the service to those who paid for it. During the Industrial Revolution a desperate need for government ran fire protection services became eminent. A centralized fire protection agency was needed to protect the factories and the homes of thousands of workers. I am willing to pay more taxes to make fire safety accessible to everyone and so distressing stories like the one above do not occur.

  9. Annette Santiago (@ASanti23)
    January 27, 2012

    I cannot believe that firefighters would stand by and let a family’s home go up in flames. I understand the whole concept of they did not pay a $75 fee because just like everyone else, firefighters need to be paid as well, but this was just a complete disgrace. Why would the firefighters even show up if they did not plan or want to shut the fire down? This county in TN falls under a Nonrivalrous public good, meaning that the firefighters were prohibited from helping the family because they did not pay a fee. Unfortunately for the family, the firefighters had the right to not put the fire out. I do believe that fire safety should be available to all, and if that means raising taxes then it needs to happen. Some things, such as accidents, happen and people need to be protected. People pay for insurance to protect their family, home, car, etc. So why not pay a little extra so that if your house goes up in flames, the firefighters will come to your house and actually put the fire out, instead of just watching it burn down in flames with you? Nothing in life is free, and everyone does their job to be rewarded.

  10. Sarah Gao
    January 27, 2012

    Daily News-Raises taxes for fire departmentI thing a good public good is people can get benefits from, and a bad public good is when we don’t need the goods, but it’s actually there. I think fire safety should be available to all, because that’s the department we will call if we have an emergency. If we do not have any fire station, who should we call if we have an emergency? Since it is a major benefit to the residents, I think we should support it. Also the government should support it as well. We do not want to see a major tax increase, but government should find out a budget.So no one will lose their home while firefighters watching.

  11. Tonya Haynes
    January 27, 2012

    Surprisingly, the history of privatized fire departments is not new here in America. Some of our founding fathers adopted the idea from England where this was practiced until the government decided to provide the service as a public good because the fire insurance companies went bankrupt providing free services to people that were not insured. I don’t agree with the Fire Department in Tennessee putting public finances over public safety by letting a house burn down for not paying a $75 fee. But I do believe Chatham County’s South Side Fire Department is a good of example of how we can learn from past mistakes and possibly make privatization work.
    Privatization
    Chatham County’s Fire Department has been successful because instead of denying services to people who don’t subscribe, they simply bill them. I’m pretty sure they don’t collect on every bill, but the department has been in existence since 1961 and the loss of money has not hurt them. Most people subscribe to the service because the discount they get from their insurance compnay outweighs the subscription cost. Fire services are a pulic good in most places, but we still pay taxes to have them. If we have to pay then why not reduce the cost by privatizing. As long as we don’t let someone’s house burn down, privatization may be worth a try.

  12. Hafsha Nawreen
    January 27, 2012

    This is a very unfortunate event that should have been under notional spotlight. We are going through a very hard time and I know that there is a lot to pay for: equipment, manpower, insurance, etc. That may be the case, but it is also wrong. The least they could have done was put the fire out. Maybe not rescue everything but at least have the fire out so the family could get everything that was left untouched. $75 is not much and even though they did not pay, the firemen could have excused that for a moment to help this family. This is a public good. A public good is a very special class of goods which cannot practically be withheld from one individual consumer without withholding them from all and for which the marginal cost of an additional person consuming them, once they have been produced, is zero. That is a public good.
    I do think that fire safety should be available to all, regardless of the payment, safety comes first and there are always ways to pay the fees. Taxes are already high but the risk of health problems are much greater. I would raise them just a bit.

  13. Rachael Freels
    January 27, 2012

    As much as I wish I didn’t have to say this, if a person is unwilling to pay an annual fee for protection from fires, then the risk is on them. I know that my family cannot afford to pay a higher tax rate to help out those who can’t help themselves. If money were not an issue for me, then I would most certainly pay higher taxes to aid those who could not afford $75 a year. But money is going to be a problem for someone one either side- if not the homeowner risking it all, then the neighbors who pay for it all. What defines a public good is relative, because what is good for some is always going to hurt someone else in some way. Another prime example of this can be found in Wendy Harris’ article disputing property rights

  14. Ena Kadric
    January 27, 2012

    By definition a public good is a good or service that is provided without profit for society collectively, and with that I do think fire safety should be a public good, and available to all, and I would be willing to raise taxes to pay for it. There’s no reason for the fire department to even show up if they’re just going to have a beer over it, it’s insulting. How can they stand back and watch while peoples houses, belongings, memories, and needs burn down because of a $75 dollar fee; perhaps the men working for the fire department should think about why they started working for the fire department, because if it’s about the money, it’s obviously not a place for them. This article talks more about the Fulton City fire department saying that there isn’t a better solution than the $75 dollar fee, but I think if they raised taxes, accidents such as these wouldn’t have to cripple people’s lives.

  15. Erika Candelaria
    January 27, 2012

    Many times we get confused with what is considered to be a public good and what is not. But is it really ok to not provide a service just because of money? My reaction to the news article of the firefighter that just stood there and didn’t help the poor family when they most needed it was obscured. I think when to consider a good a public good is when you this service is offered to mostly everyone. An example of a public good would such things like education, air, or national defense. I think that fire safety is very important to have for everyone and it shouldn’t be a special gift given to people only because they pay for it. I feel like it is wrong to not help those in need especially in this cases like this when something could have been done. In my opinion I would be ok with raising taxes in order to provide this public good that should be available to everyone! In the article that I found it shows you what a private good would be; in this case it would be school. For a higher education it is completely reasonable to deny education for people who could not afford it. Unlike fire safety there are no people that are hurt or their belongings. I feel like this is something that needs to be changed for the better of our community.

    The Chronicle

  16. Jasmine Badger
    January 27, 2012

    No Incentive for Anyone to Subscribe
    Mayor David Crocker of Obion County endorsed the firefighters decision to stand by and watch Bell’s trailer home go up in flames. All over a $75 fee, and a public good is supposed to be free and available to all without a requirement for a “subscription”, as Crocker requests in order to receive fire safety. I believe that there should be no price on safety of any kind and available to all and not just who pay for it. Crocker has said, ” firefighters will help when people are in danger, regardless of whether they have paid.” However, people who lose their homes to fires and survive are also considered to be in danger. Not of losing their lives, but of becoming homeless and the issues that accompany that. Due to this reason, I would be willing to raise taxes to support this cause. No one should have to worry about their safety, let alone home safety because our homes were once said to be one of the safest places for us.

  17. Jillian Wood
    February 1, 2012

    Firefighter Speaks Out Against Pay for Spray

    The event of the Tennessee family losing their home to a fire is unfortunate, but they were not helped because they did not pay the $75 fee that is to be paid by everyone, so while it’s unfortunate, it is fair, and even though the couple did not pay the fee, the firefighters still showed up to make sure the PEOPLE (not their possessions) were safe.
    However, I think that makes the firefighters’ services not a “public good”. I believe a public good is something that should be accessible by everyone regardless of his or her financial situation. I think applying a tax would be appropriate in this situation.

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