You Can Never Be Safe Enough

Of course safety is important for a community, but it is also something that government entities that are in the business of public safety can never spend enough on. Additionally, laws are initially passed in the name of safety and then over time become more and more restrictive, infringing on our rights. Oftentimes the laws that are passed or the rules enacted to protect, require us to do things that don’t even make sense.

This is because one size fits all rules often is not a good fit. For instance, sometimes you are able to build your house easier in a flood zone, in an area that is known to flood, because it has a known flood risk rather than building in an nearby higher area that is less prone to flooding, but the flood risk is not as well known.

Safety has to take into consideration the cost versus the benefit to safety. If you took all the money spent today on fire and police and spent all the money on the fire department, but had no money for police it would would be not improve overall safety even though you might have the best fire department in the state
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It is important to understand that there are diminishing returns for safety expenses. If you add a guard rail on a dangerous curve it can make that corner much safer, but adding guard rails to a straight away might not make it much safer and that money could be better spent elsewhere.

Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department situation illustrates how safety usurps the concept of cost when it comes to public policy. The county ended the contract with the volunteer department after numerous safety issues surfaced. Hernando County Fire Rescue took over Fire and ALS Rescue to the area. However, there was no cost analysis done, even though the county department is facing serious financial issues. The only solution provided was the county takeover. There was little attention given to how the county could hold the volunteer fire department more accountable such as hiring a full-time paid fire chief. Volunteer Departments are a cost savings and also have the potential to provide excellent service.

There are always areas where money can be spent to improve safety. The struggle is to figure out where the money spent on safety will make the largest difference.