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  • Rolling Firehouse closures

    http://www.examiner.com/x-9275-Phila...rehouse-closes

    I read this and am disgusted. They closed companies 2 years ago. I just hope no one gets killed due to the budget.

  • #2
    That's happening nationwide everyday. Coast to coast, border to unprotected border.

    Comment


    • #3
      its a nice way to for the mayor to say "We didn't close any firehouses, we just won't staff one for a 24 hour period". If they are going to brown out/close companies they should reduce services. Well we need to keep the resources available for fires, we aren't going to go to water problems or smells of natural gas, or electrical problems unless there is smoke or fire.

      Wasn't a brother in Baltimore badly burned when he was doing a search and the next in companies were delayed due to closures or other incidents?
      Last edited by nameless; 07-19-2010, 04:48 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by nameless View Post
        its a nice way to for the mayor to say "We didn't close any firehouses, we just won't staff one for a 24 hour period".
        When they closed down some companies a few years back, they chose a few engine companies in double houses, that way they could get away with saying "We're not closing the firehouse! Ladder 16 will still be there!"

        Problem is that Engine 6 can no longer deliver water onto Ladder 16's fires.
        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nameless View Post
          If they are going to brown out/close companies they should reduce services.
          The story was about the rolling 'brownouts.' Nowhere in the story does it discuss whether other cuts in municipal service have, or haven't, been made.

          I fully agree that cutting back the fire department as such is a poor idea, but those involved in getting the story into the press had no interest in whether other city departments are facing similar reductions.

          It may well be that other services are being cut as well. It would be interesting to hear the rest of the story.
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

          Comment


          • #6
            if you're going to comment, can you at least read what I wrote. There were several sentences after the one you quoted that made it clear it was about the fire department.The Fire Department should reduce services. Less resources=less services, they need to keep companies in service for their primary objective, which is fire protection, so other service type runs should be eliminated.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by nameless View Post
              its a nice way to for the mayor to say "We didn't close any firehouses, we just won't staff one for a 24 hour period". If they are going to brown out/close companies they should reduce services. Well we need to keep the resources available for fires, we aren't going to go to water problems or smells of natural gas, or electrical problems unless there is smoke or fire.

              Wasn't a brother in Baltimore badly burned when he was doing a search and the next in companies were delayed due to closures or other incidents?
              Yes there was a brother in Baltimore that was badly burned when he was doing a search. He either had to bail out a window from one of the top floors of the row house or he would of been a LODD. But according to the puppet chief of BFD the delay in the second company did not result in the fire fighter getting injured.

              If you believe that, then I have some land in Florida for sale.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by nameless View Post
                if you're going to comment, can you at least read what I wrote. There were several sentences after the one you quoted that made it clear it was about the fire department.The Fire Department should reduce services. Less resources=less services, they need to keep companies in service for their primary objective, which is fire protection, so other service type runs should be eliminated.
                I don't disagree. You have to make the best use of what you have available and shed what takes away your ability to provide your core service.

                I read your statement (as well as the cited article) in a broader context. Are cuts are being made in other city departments - public works, police, transportation, etc? Or is the fire department being singled out? No reference to that was made in the article and I believe it has a place in the discussion.
                Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                  Are cuts are being made in other city departments - public works, police, transportation, etc? Or is the fire department being singled out? No reference to that was made in the article and I believe it has a place in the discussion.
                  http://kyw.cbslocal.com/2010/07/14/a...m-city-budget/

                  Another $27 Million Cut From City Budget
                  by KYW’s Mike Dunn

                  Philadelphia’s budget woes continue. The Nutter Administration has announced yet more spending cuts totaling $27million, affecting virtually every aspect of the city government.
                  The Nutter Administration laid out this latest round of spending reductions in the wake of the continuing recession and declines in city business and property tax revenues. It includes large scale reductions in police and fire department overtime.

                  And, chief of staff Clarence Armbrister says achieving those cuts won’t be easy:

                  “The command staff will have to work very hard to make sure that the overtime is managed very well.”
                  The Fire Department in fact will achieve its overtime cuts through “rolling closures” of fire companies citywide. The mayor earlier had said he’d close some companies outright. The only actual layoffs will be ten staffers cut from the office that deals with homelessness.

                  There’s also a million dollar cut to the Community College of Philadelphia, a million dollar cut to the prison system, and a million dollar cut to the city’s cultural fund. And, officials warn, that with the recession continuing and federal funding for Medicaid in limbo, this may not be the end.

                  One bit of good news is that the mayor rescinded his plan to close branch libraries one day a week. That was avoided thanks to greater-than-expected results from the city’s just-completed tax amnesty.


                  *****

                  The original plan was to permanently close two companies as well as the library schedule changes. Now we get four companies OOS. This will make for a 12.4% cut in services since January 2009. If you factor another 5 companies OOS for training (our current limit), we are reduced 18% in the last 19 months. By far more than any other city service. Yeah, I'd say we're being singled out.

                  When the original 7 companies closed, Nutter stated it would save about $10 Mil/Year. Two months after the closings were announced, he gave $13 Mil of city money (not grants) to beautify just one section of the city. The beautification was to turn burned out houses/empty lots into parks. WTF???
                  Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mrpita View Post
                    The Fire Department in fact will achieve its overtime cuts through “rolling closures” of fire companies citywide.
                    So the rolling closures will only occur when OT would be required to bring staffing up to the minimum for that company?

                    While still a crappy situation it doesn't sound as bad as more consistent rolling, or worse permanent closures.
                    So you call this your free country
                    Tell me why it costs so much to live
                    -3dd

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                      So the rolling closures will only occur when OT would be required to bring staffing up to the minimum for that company?

                      While still a crappy situation it doesn't sound as bad as more consistent rolling, or worse permanent closures.
                      Yeah, except it is. We have (for now) 56 engines (1+3) and 27 ladders (1+4). That means we need (56*4 + 27*5) or 359 bodies to "open the doors". If a platoon has 344, the 15 OT hires fill in the rest. AFAIK they're closing 4 companies on each platoon, so each platoon has to be at least 12 bodies short of full quota.

                      They can call it what they will, we are reduced. A few weeks ago they eliminated 57 positions that were not filled. However, those unfilled positions did not affect companies going out the door. These cuts are basically eliminating the 12-16 unfilled positions on each platoon that DO affect companies.
                      Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mrpita View Post
                        Yeah, except it is. We have (for now) 56 engines (1+3) and 27 ladders (1+4). That means we need (56*4 + 27*5) or 359 bodies to "open the doors". If a platoon has 344, the 15 OT hires fill in the rest. AFAIK they're closing 4 companies on each platoon, so each platoon has to be at least 12 bodies short of full quota.
                        I thought the original article mentioned that they weren't laying off people. So does that mean that they only close companies if staffing drops below your 359 number? Still pretty confusing.

                        Either way it definitely sucks that City hall has put the creation of parks and urban renewal ahead of public safety.
                        So you call this your free country
                        Tell me why it costs so much to live
                        -3dd

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This discussion usually will degrade to the "lives will be lost argument". While valid it is not a good argument. The people making the decision already know that. Using that same line of reasoning, increasing staffing and stations will save lives.

                          It is difficult to balance the needs of the community vs. the cost of the service. Sadly, all public services are dictated by available funding. And each service will come up with very good reasons as to why they cannot be cut. In the end, the cuts must be made (Unless you are NYS, they simply keep sucking more and more form the public). There is absolutely no way to save every life.

                          I like to live by the following statement - A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part. Now you ask, how does this relate to the Fire Service? We didn't get the people into trouble, but we will do our best to get them out of trouble. They in some way shape or form created their own emergency (in most cases). Our job is to control or mitigate the damage. If response times are kept tot a minimum of 15 minutes then you are doing good. And a minimal response could be an engine with 2 fire fighters and a lieutenant. This does assume that there are other resources available to respond. For instance, the city has 4 stations each with three people on shift.

                          Remember, You can't always get what you want, but if you try somehow you get what you need - Rolling Stones.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                            I thought the original article mentioned that they weren't laying off people. So does that mean that they only close companies if staffing drops below your 359 number? Still pretty confusing.

                            Either way it definitely sucks that City hall has put the creation of parks and urban renewal ahead of public safety.
                            They're not laying off anyone. Our staffing is already below the 359* number. Now, they are/were hiring OT to fill those positions. Within the next week or so, they are closing companies to avoid the cost of the OT - effectively "laying off" however many vacancies.

                            (* - 359 is not the accurate number we need per platoon; only for the engines and ladders. There are other units that require additional numbers such as 11 battalion chiefs and aides, 2 marine units, Rescue 1, 2 deputy chiefs and aides, etc. I don't know the exact number we need to keep our current staffing.)
                            Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
                              This discussion usually will degrade to the "lives will be lost argument". While valid it is not a good argument. The people making the decision already know that. Using that same line of reasoning, increasing staffing and stations will save lives. Yes, until you reach a point of diminishing returns. One could say the basic argument here is where the diminished point is.

                              It is difficult to balance the needs of the community vs. the cost of the service. Sadly, all public services are dictated by available funding. And each service will come up with very good reasons as to why they cannot be cut. In the end, the cuts must be made (Unless you are NYS, they simply keep sucking more and more form the public). And the cuts have been made. Over the last 19 months, even without these latest cuts, we have been cut more than any other department, despite being the most efficient city department and having the least fat. There is absolutely no way to save every life. Agreed.

                              I like to live by the following statement - A lack of planning on your part does not constitute and emergency on my part. Now you ask, how does this relate to the Fire Service? We didn't get the people into trouble, but we will do our best to get them out of trouble. They in some way shape or form created their own emergency (in most cases). Our job is to control or mitigate the damage. Agreed, to a point. If response times are kept tot a minimum of 15 minutes then you are doing good. And a minimal response could be an engine with 2 fire fighters and a lieutenant. This does assume that there are other resources available to respond. For instance, the city has 4 stations each with three people on shift. WTF??

                              Remember, You can't always get what you want, but if you try somehow you get what you need - Rolling Stones. And they are cutting what we NEED.
                              In case you haven't noticed, we're a fulltime/career only department. To suggest a 15 minute response time borders on the criminal. Even going by NFPA standards (#1710), we should have first engine on scene in 4 minutes, and/or the entire box within 8 minutes, on 90% of our runs. This does not include turnout or dispatch times. So overall we should be there, first-in or box, at 6 or 10 minutes (respectively) from the 911 call. We are approaching some instances of 10 minute response-only times for JUST THE FIRST-IN. Last I heard I think our response gets there in acceptable times only 55% of the runs. The commisioner himself, is on record at the last round of budget hearings stating that any further cuts will reduce response times. We are cut to the bone. We are one of the smallest departments, and yet our cutbacks have been the largest dollar amounts.

                              We recently had a day, not all that memorable, save for a few powerful thunderstorms. I'm not talking about a hurricane, or tornados, or anything exceptional, just a few regular summer day thunderstorms, though admittedly powerful. We were tapped out. At least one newscaster even went so far as to say, live, on-air, "Every engine, ladder and ambulance in the city has been dispatched", meaning there is NO ONE left. Over 1050 runs this day, where we usually are 800+, so it's really not much more than we always do. My engine was running first due in areas we're not even on the second alarm. That should be an indicator of how close we are to the breaking point, EVERY DAY.

                              But we can keep libraries open their full schedule, not even cut them back a bit. I guess the city is a proponent of book burning, because I've been telling people to turn to the library if their house is on fire. Throw some books at it, because we can't afford the equipment or mapower to put it out.
                              Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

                              Comment

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