Of all the tragic events and challenges of physical rescues, fires, hazardous materials responses, medical emergencies, and numerous other incidents firefighters contend with every day, why disrespect them and add another challenge — theft of their equipment?
During the week of June 12, the Lompoc City Fire Department “lost” a vital rescue tool. Well, they didn’t really “lose it,” it was stolen from their truck as they were resolving another emergency in the neighborhood.

This is not as unusual as it would seem; once people respected emergency response forces and would never consider stealing their equipment. But that all changed a few decades ago when people started throwing rocks at fire trucks, shooting into their fire stations, and even stealing their fire trucks and ambulances at the scene of emergencies.

You might ask, why don’t they just lock up their tools in their trucks?

If it were a contractor’s truck at a job site it wouldn’t make much difference, the few seconds needed to unlock the truck cabinets wouldn’t matter. But, during emergency responses when time is critical, even a few seconds or minutes searching for a key in your pocket under heavy protective clothing to unlock an equipment cabinet could spell the difference between a successful rescue and a fatality or disabling medical condition.

When firefighters respond to emergencies three things are very important, time because every second counts, training, and the right tool for the job.

The tool that was stolen in this case is used frequently to free people from entrapment in vehicle collisions, entanglement in equipment and in any other situation where metal may need to be cut or heavy objects pried loose to free an entrapped person.

Tools like this are expensive, this one cost taxpayers $20,000 according to a Noozhawk report. Replacing it would likely take weeks or months and undoubtedly cost more due to inflation.

In this and all cases, firefighters don’t sit around and wait for someone else to solve their problem; they are used to solving other people’s problems.

Noozhawk reported: “After realizing the tool had been stolen, fire Battalion Chief Scott Nunez began searching online sources and located a similar tool up for sale.”

His search was fruitful, and he found the exact tool that had been stolen online.

The report goes on to say that the city manager “noted the roles of Nunez and (fire) Capt. Louis Farah along with LPD’s corporals, Henry Strong, David Magana and David Garcia. If it wasn’t for you guys taking the extra effort, we would never get that tool back, so thank you guys.”

I have lived a long time, and as I see our societal ethics take a steep decline to the point where people think it’s a good idea to steal rescue equipment I am saddened.

And when I see politicians formulate laws that seem to encourage rather than discourage this type of thievery, it just makes me mad. What will happen to the ‘thief’ or ‘thieves’ in this case? What justice, if any, will be served?

When will the body politic in California figure out that “Thou shalt not steal” has been a “thing” since biblical times when civilized people were trying to figure out the rules an organized society should live by. Maybe they should revisit the Ten Commandments to figure out what keeps honest people honest is strong enforcement of these guiding principles.

What’s so ironic about this theft is that the very tool the thieves stole may have been needed if one of them were injured and trapped. These weren’t very bright people when you stop to think they may have been endangering their own lives while trying to score some easy money.

Reference: https://www.noozhawk.com/lompoc-firefighters-police-officers-team-up-to-retrieve-stolen-power-tool/?utm_medium=email