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Friday, May 19, 2017
In Mobile its a Crisis...In Pensacola Under Hayward...No Problem
Mobile recently announced a new Fire Chief. In the WKRG story about the new Chief it states:
"Sealy also talked about the staffing issues brought up in News 5’s Special Report, such as many of the firetrucks riding with three firefighters instead of the recommended four.
“Certainly staffing always needs to be addressed,” Sealy said. “The amount of people we have on the trucks is certainly something we’re going to look into.”
“We’re just lucky no one’s gotten hurt real bad. We’re lucky we haven’t had a fatality,” said the Vice President of the Mobile Firefighters Association Matt Waltman. City officials say even though this isn’t the ideal situation, it’s a better use of city resources.
“You have a choice between where you ride less engines with four people on them or do you spread them out in geographic locations where you have a faster response time,” said Public Safety Director James Barber. In the last three months, there’s been just one day where all companies were fully staffed and 34 days where at least one or more units were not running at all. This is according to the MFRD manpower log. Fire officials say the practice is common.
No matter how long the practice has been going on, it’s raised eyebrows among the rank-and-file. Some worry it’s a problem waiting to happen.
“Our mission has been lost,” said a Mobile Firefighter who asked us to refer to him as “Bob.” Most firefighters we spoke with would only agree to interviews if we concealed their identities out of fear of retaliation.
“Just because we’ve been riding short for so long doesn’t mean it’s okay. I mean one day can change everything,” said “Bob.” The absence of a fully appointed fire chief has hurt morale and made people wonder about the department’s direction.