Thursday, August 19, 2010
New Council Speach, Boy it was not pretty there
Every day, 24 hours a day, Firefighters are there to risk their lives for the citizens of and visitors to Wilkes-Barre. We put our Health on the line facing fires, physical assault, AIDS, flus, unexploded ordinance, Hepatitis, and God knows what else. Is it to much to ask the city to not make this even more life threatening? To give us what we need to go home to OUR families? It's not right, but we shouldn't be shocked by this finance-based attitude.
The mayor keeps quoting response times, The response time from either station will not vary according to differences in staffing. It will take the same time for an engine and/or a truck to get from Point A to Point B, whether there are two people or eight people on board. Staffing has no effect at all on distance related response time. What staffing reductions will affect is the overall safety of the city and its citizens. 12 men can only do so much, and that is not as much as the 17 the cities study stated is the minimum.
Another question here is what is the average age of our firefighters still present. Age affects everyone in any job. A desk job, like the mayor and council has, can't compare to the physical demands a job like firefighting has. If the average age is around 35 or so, and all are in good physical shape, then we can do most of their assignments. However, when that average is around 45, the difficulty level for those assignments increases, and so does the time required to do them, and time is the enemy. The average for our dept is over 46 and no new firefighters have been hired in 8 years.
Also three people cannot correctly or safely accomplish tasks that require four people to perform. Likewise, four people cannot do what six can do. All firefighting actions must be performed by the proper number of people if they are to be done safely and efficiently. Staff reduction will only compromise citizens' and firefighters' safety.
I implore you to keep our citizens safe -- keep our responders safe -- re-instate minimum staffing before someone gets seriously burned. We are each just one person and we can only do one thing at a time. If the mayor continues to rely on the 12 persons per shift vs 17 think of how difficult it is for you to do more then one thing at a time and realize the difficulty of multitasking while facing great personal danger.
Obviously a class in firefighting basics is needed, administrators in Charleston, SC skipped that class, causing the dept to lose nine (9) great men in the historic "Sofa Warehouse Fire" on June 18, 2007
The Seattle, WA mayor was thinking about FD cuts until June 12. 5 dead, a 22 year old woman and four children ages 13,7,6, and 5. The Mayor and council are no longer considering cuts. You know this, I told you. Responsible government would learn from their mistake.
The 1995 Study by Stephen Lloyd Associates (commissioned BY THE CITY) said 17 men/shift is the minimum, A second study was conducted in March 2002 by the International Association of Firefighters claimed 22+/ shift was the minimum. Two separate studies that say the mayors cutbacks are putting lives at risk. Doesn't it seem obvious that WHEN someone dies because of these life threatening cutbacks that the city will be facing another legal action? and won't that cost the city MILLIONS?! And we, the tax payers, will have to foot the bill. That is not even mentioning the money spent on the citys' legal fees. Doesn't sound to Fiscally responsible to me.
It won't be long before local lawyers will catch on, and for every working fire that causes damage, injury or death, you'll be spending the majority of the day responding to lawsuits, providing depositions and appearing in court. Costing the city MUCH more in money, let alone lives of innocents.
You have raised taxes, raised fees, garbage bag fees up, diminished safety & EMS. And if we say anything you threaten the people with volunteers. All while leaving neighborhoods neglected. These are not the actions of someone with the publics best interests in heart.
I firmly believe that if I wasn't VOCALLY opposing the mayor we would've been cut even further, south station would've been sold (probably to disgraced ex-judge Conahans' Medic 8 or LAG Towing), and the city would be in even worse shape safety wise.
Politicians like to blame Fire departments. They can't cut Police, especially now, without committing political suicide (or putting in near useless cameras) and DPW can only be cut so far (remember the problems with snow removal last year). They won't cut city hall, those are 'their people'. So that means they demonize and cut the Fire Dept.
Normally I read multiple quotes from the mayor, today I only have one, It's tells us a lot about him. Oct 5, 2004 "It's a shame the firefighters have the time to go door to door." (WNEP) What a cheap political shoot, We can do anything we want in our free time. You know this, so this has absolutely no truth to what you implied. An obvious lie to demonize the dept.
(I only got this far before Mr Barret stopped me. Time was up. Bad frog in my throat had me faltering.)
Remember the Cities own study claimed 17/shift was the MINIMUM, not the mayors 12! He's putting our loved ones at risk while spending our money on his pet projects and to violate peoples CONSTITUTIONAL rights. Ask Denise Carey.
The city council is a legislative body.
"A legislature is a type of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend, and repeal laws."
As a citizen, I call on the council to pass a law that stops the mayor from unilaterally doing something that opens the city up to massive lawsuits or needlessly risking lives.