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Lynchburg firefighters reach 'breaking point,' request more money from city budget

Call volume has increased, but budget has remained flat

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LYNCHBURG, Va. – You're going to start seeing yellow signs all over Lynchburg calling for you to support firefighters in the city budget.

Lynchburg firefighters say they've been left behind for the last decade. 

The Lynchburg Fire Fighters Association says the population in Lynchburg has increased 16 percent in the last two censuses and there's been a 40 percent increase in EMS calls. 

The budget for firefighters has remained flat, giving them a large deficit. 

They point to the areas of Timberlake, Wyndhurst, Greenview, and Leesville, where people may have to wait before firefighters can come. 

They also say running out of ambulances is the norm. 

Here is the statement from Lynchburg Fire Fighters Association President Jamie Maxwell: 

"It's important for this organization to pursue our agenda with reliable information based on national standards and historical data. The goal is to provide [Lynchburg with] the most capable, competent and professional fire suppression and EMS response in the state, and it takes public information sharing to get there.

"Lynchburg property owners pay nearly double the property tax than neighboring jurisdictions, and the department our members serve provide a big part of what they are paying for. I've heard many of our customers, and particularly the ones that are in a stage of life where they value peace of mind, say they are willing to pay the extra price because someone will show up quickly when they dial 911. Frankly, that's just not the case any longer. This study shows the gaps in our coverage for fire protection and EMS response, and we feel the public deserves to know this information.

"Our members will always give 110 percent effort to answer the call, but when you run out of resources routinely and don't have adequate staffing to take time off, the department reaches an unhealthy breaking point where something will eventually give."