A social media post from the Douglas County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department created an unwanted firestorm of criticism towards the Board of Commissioners.
Last week, DCFD posted a flier on its Facebook page asking for donations of bottled water to keep “firefighters and EMS personnel” hydrated during the summer months.
The post had the caption, “Bottled Water Donations Needed” followed by the department asking for donations. It was reposted on another Facebook page as followers took shots at the BOC for ‘not supporting’ the first responders.
Douglas County Fire/EMS Chief Roderick Jolivette said that is not the case. He said the BOC approved his budget, which included funds for the purchase of water.
“It has been a tradition with fire departments across the country to get donations of water from companies,” Jolivette said.
He said while the donations from companies have been down, citizens are donating and that his department has water for its personnel.
Jolivette said his department recently purchased about 35 cases of water, which will be distributed to fire stations.
Temperatures have reached well into the 90s for several consecutive days.
“I wish the flier didn’t include the word needed in it,” Jolivette said. “We appreciate the citizens for bringing the water. We were just looking to engage the citizens and let them show their support for the hardworking men and women in our department. We never wanted it to turn political.”
Jolivette said they didn’t want to buy bulk quantities of water, which could deplete stores of their supplies.
“We can continue to train, and our guys need to stay hydrated,” Jolivette said. “We also pass out water to citizens when we go on calls if they need it. I know its political season, and people want to create things that aren’t there. Our responders are doing a good job out there, and they are training hard. I would like to thank the citizens for their donations.”