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Shopey: Don’t forget firefighters

Winsted — Winsted Fire Department Chief Robert Shopey spoke at the annual town budget meeting held on Monday, May 2. While the meeting was held to discuss the proposed town budget for fiscal 2011-12, Shopey said he did not come to speak in support of or against the budget. Instead, he spoke about the protective gear the fire department is currently using, which Shopey said needs to be replaced. “I would like to ask the members of our community if they have eight-year-old clothing that they wear 800 times a year?” Shopey asked the audience. “How many of you would wear that clothing into a burning building structure? That’s what we as firefighters are faced with. Each year we have put into our capital budget funds to replace our protective clothing, but the last time we were able to purchase it was eight years ago.” Two members of the fire department stood next to Shopey wearing protective gear and showed the audience where there are rips, tears and holes in the clothing. “This is what firefighters are faced with on a daily basis to protect the community,” Shopey said. “This is becoming more and more difficult to do with the equipment and protective clothing we are forced to deal with. I’m not here to tell you to support or not support the budget. I’m just here to tell you to please remember the firefighters.” Shopey did not make any budgetary requests at the meeting.

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