Sunday, October 13, 2013

Firefighters at Camp Robinson Among Latest to be Furloughed

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR -- When wildfires scorched across Arkansas last summer helicopters with the Arkansas National Guard were called in to pick up and drop giant buckets of water.
The choppers came from the airfield at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock where Gary Lody is a firefighter.

"If we have something, a major flood or a major disaster, and [the helicopters] are needed they're not going to be able to go if they don't have the firefighter support at the airfield," Lody said.

Regulations mandate a certain number of firefighters are present at the airfield in order for the choppers to fly -- a problem since Lody was told late last week not to report for work next week.

"[We] have equipment that we have to run every day to make sure it's operational, that it will start in case we need to use it," he said.

Before Lody and other firefighters were furloughed, they trained mechanics on the basics of responding to emergencies.  Then, Lody's focus turned to the home front.

"We all have bills to pay and if you're not working you can't pay those bills," Lody said.  "But the creditors are still going to knock on your door wanting the money."

Lody is one of 81 state employees with the Arkansas National Guard in the new round of furloughs. 


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