That's the truth there. I haven't been in this business for long, but as a paramedic for an ambulance service that relies on volunteer and paid firefighters in their own communities, you're shooting yourself in the foot if you think volunteer departments can provide an equal level of service.
Like Gribble, I've also seen people die that could have been saved with the level of training and equipment a paid service can provide. It's not all about fighting fires. In fact, very little of it is.
Don't get me wrong, I thank God we have volunteers in the rural areas. They show up at 3 in the morning when a confused diabetic wants to kick my butt for helping him, or just when it comes to lifting a 400 lb patient even though they already knew what they were in for by the address of said person. It's handy to have someone show up before I can get there and take a set of vitals, give oxygen or get quality CPR started.
That doesn't help much though when they show up on the scene of an emergency that requires immediate advanced life support or the person will literally die. Say you or someone you care about experiences such an emergency. Too bad the ambulance stationed just down the road is already on a call and the next closest one is 20 minutes away. It's easy to say that's an acceptable risk when you don't see the effects because it's never affected you.