I would like to give a thank-you and my agreement to Brik McDill for his recent Community Voices article ("This intelligence test involves firefighters, county budgets," Jan. 18). One of the greatest dangers in fire/emergency services is doing the job so well that the runs drop and it seems there are too many firefighter/paramedics standing around, completely ignoring the backbone of the fire service — fire prevention.

When those annoying fire inspections and fire extinguisher checks are done professionally and timely, fires decrease and people start questioning the need for all that equipment and manpower, and this mentality grows like a weed until the Big One hits and resources are stretched to the limit and station coverage is reduced to handle other emergencies while addressing the Big One, and Big Ones will come.

The city and county departments should be rewarded for their efficiency and effectiveness, not depleted and derided. Everything Brik said addresses issues as a reality: Cutting costs and losing experienced manpower is out of touch with reality and begs the question because cuts will lead to migration of the best and brightest and require costly training of green recruits that have none of their experience.

Give a firefighter a hug and thank him or her for their preparation and preparedness that reduces the fire costs and frequency. And know they are vigilantly awaiting response to the next Big One.

— David L. Wynn, Bakersfield