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Wednesday, 27 March 2013 13:41

Consider safety issues related to steep slopes

Written by 

To the Editor:

I once again would like to bring up the safety issues regarding fire, rescue and sheriff’s department personnel responding to home sites that are built on steep grades. In my humble opinion, the present 30 percent maximum should have stayed at the 25 percent proposed level and not increased, much less be increased higher for any reason, much less to 34 percent.

Any commissioner or planner so inclined to vote to do so, I would highly recommend a mandatory field trip. They should be forced to ride to home sites built on grades 30 percent and higher in order for them to appreciate the dangers involved with just getting to the home site as a passenger in the front seat of a fully loaded fire engine containing 1,200 gallons of water or more when there is snow and black ice. Following that fire truck is a large rescue vehicle and then a sheriff’s vehicle.

Getting to the scene is only half the fun they will enjoy. Getting back down that same mountain, fully loaded with water on a false fire alarm, would be the real decision maker.

Then and only then will they fully appreciate the dangers involved for our folks who respond to calls for help. There is no reason imaginable to increase our responders’ risk just because someone wants to live on a mountaintop.

Just as there is a waiver for the big island in Glenville Lake for our fire departments, should there also be a waiver for all of our responders for homes built on grades higher than 30 percent? That could be a revision. 

Sound pretty harsh? Then why make the problem any greater than it already is?

 I request the commissioners to please shelve the idea of grades higher than the present. Oh, I am sure there are plenty of folks on the other side of this issue. I just would like the planners to be aware of the safety issues.

Thomas F. Fischel

Cullowhee

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