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.”
The Special report article sites:
The issues of public safety and the lack of a full-fledged fire chief came into sharp focus just this week.  This was one explosive example of a truck riding short this week. Three men on a truck instead of four. Matt Waltman with the Mobile Fire Fighters Union has been one of the vocal critics of this practice.
“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.

As I have noted for years, Pensacola has been violating the 2 in 2 out rule FOR YEARS.  No one cares here.  

In Mobile, its a special report.  
It's a crisis!  
Actions must be taken.
The Fire Union is strong and stands up for its members.  Vocally!

In Pensacola, City Hall doesn't care.  
WEAR just wants to do commercials.  
The PNJ wants to highlight who has played and will play at Vinyl.
The Fire Union is dominated over by the Mayor.
Their President is more worried about his social acceptance at City Hall than representing his firefighters.

One more reason...Pensacola, the Downside of Florida...and the Gulf Coast.

We deserve better.  But lets worry about parade routes, panhandling and photo ops!


CJ Lewis said...

It would be interesting to know how the "Hayward" Fire Department now stacks up against the Escambia County Fire/Rescue Department. As example, does Escambia County respond to structural fires with four or less than four firefighters on the fire engine. As another example, how does Escambia County's Rescue function stack up against that of Pensacola. When I met with the Pensacola Fire Union officials in 2016, I was told that the Firefighters/Paramedics did not like to ride in the Rescue Trucks. That was the justification given for sending fire trucks out for emergency responses. I explained the work I had done in 2008 to lay the foundation for the city's fire department providing Advance Lifesaving Support. I met with county staff. I briefed Fire Chief Edwards. He spoke with City Manager Coby who wanted nothing to do with it. As a reminder, Coby lived far outside of city limits so why should he care about the city's fire department and he did not. I was bluntly told later that they endorsed P.C. Wu because they did not want to offend the incumbent. The department is hyper-political. During the confirmation hearing for Fire Chief Allen in which Allen was not allowed to speak, someone speaking for the firefighters openly said that the department is "political." During my interview with the Fire Union lasting about two hours, they acknowledged all the problems I described and told me of others. I think they were surprised that I knew so much about the shortfalls in the department. I was told that Allen was going to propose a departmental budget to fix those problems. In my opinion, that should have been done for the current budget. We will have to wait and see what happens in the next budget proposal. I get the sense that the Escambia County Fire/Rescue Department is on the upswing and the Pensacola Fire Department is on the downswing. Even if there was no cost savings in merging the two departments, something the Escambia County Consolidation Study Commission on which I served found to be a good idea, it would make sense to have one fire department that covers 100% of the county versus the current situation with two departments one of which covers 4% and the other 96%. During a recent discussion about annexation, property owners along Tippin were told that they would begin to receive higher quality fire service. They likely do not know that under the new agreement the city's Fire Station 6 would already respond to both city "and" county properties along Tippin.

Anonymous said...

"Public safety is my number one priority." ~ Ashton Hayward...Lmao!!! The initials A.H. stand for something else also! Let's see who can figure it out!