Fri, 18 Sep 2009|
Chief Bobby Halton reviews the latest fire news, including the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Hello and welcome to volley homes we can review. -- -- home editor in chief of -- hearing magazine and now to the news. Last week firefighters from around the nation gathered to mourn the anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. As firefighters law enforcement officers and citizens around the country paused to reflect on the tremendous loss of that day. We also reflect on the tremendous honor the legacy that those brave men and women will always have on our industry. Many say that we should never forget we say we'll always remember. We'll always remember their faces their courage their lives and the loss they meant to each and every one of us. But more importantly to their family and friends America was attacked that day by fanatics who mean to destroy -- They have promised to never stop trying to destroy her and we have sworn to never stop protecting her. As part of our remembrance we would do well to pray. For our sons and daughters and our fellow firefighters and law enforcement officers. Who were out there bringing the good fight to our enemies. May god grant eternal rest all those we lost on 9/11 and he also hold all that we love. Engaged in this epic battle in the safety and gentle compassion. Of his loving hands. The NTSB released a report regarding the iron 44 crash of -- Sikorsky helicopter. It claimed the lives of nine men working for the US Forest Service on August the fifth fighting a fire. In the Shasta trinity national forest -- rebuild California. According to the NTSB. The aircraft operator Carson helicopters. Of Grants Pass under reported the weight of this helicopter. And others in its fleet. -- a critical component for pilots and how they assess how many people and how much fuel they can safely carry in a helicopter. The NTSB also suggested that the company. Responding maintenance record. And relied on inconsistent way calculation. For its aircraft and its parts on August the fifth helicopter lifted off from remote clearing people in the Shasta trinity national forest near -- -- It lifted off slower than normal -- struck trees with its nose and rotor helicopter crashed about a 150 yards from where took off. The craft quickly filled with thick dense black smoke as it hit the ground. Four men did manage to escape before the helicopter was completely consumed by fire. Killed that day -- pilot work Schoenberg. James -- launch Sean glacier Scott Carlson Matthew hammer. And -- Gomez. Brian rich David Steele and Stephen right now. More comprehensive report is due out a few months detailing the tragic moments -- these nine brave firefighters. This. -- of Akron Ohio has issued layoff notices for 201 employees. More than half of those are for cops and firefighters. The fourteen day notices went out to 96 police officers and 38 firefighters. Including the entire rookie class hired last September. Mayor Don -- -- said in announcing a layoff figures said that most employees had already been notified. -- -- also said that a local company is giving the city two million dollars which will be used to spare police officers. From the layoffs. However the mayor said. That he's gonna apply this -- money primarily towards the police because the other city departments have been trimmed more significantly. Through attrition and buyouts. The city has also taken other cost cutting steps including offering buyouts to 123 employees. -- next said he's not anticipating any additional layoffs for the rest of this year the qualified that that's saying unless something extraordinary happens. The city also plans to use federal stimulus dollars to save the jobs of 23 police officers again by partnering with the public schools. -- -- -- president of local 368. Firefighters union said that the 38 firefighters notify were notified. And moved through training facility from the regular duties last week. While the city doesn't immediately planned to close and you fire stations -- said it appears inevitable. Personally -- our said he does not see how they cannot shut something down. The union plans to try to help the laid off firefighters with the financial transition. They want to offset the health care premiums was the firefighters are officially off the city payroll. At station number eight lieutenant bill -- -- vice president of the union called the layoffs a tragedy. -- Primarily because in the time needed for training and the fact that many -- jobs outside of the communities in which they live. Suggestions to improve volunteer require recruitment. Including tax credits for volunteer firefighters. Health care insurance -- provided life insurance and personalize the vehicle tags for the volunteer firefighters. Currently the state of Oklahoma office at 200 dollar tax credit for volunteer firefighters. And a 400 dollar tax credit -- certified volunteer firefighters. It takes 136. Hours of training and -- state of Oklahoma to be certified. Represented and Joe Gorman who requested the study involved -- firefighters. So that when -- -- volunteer firefighters have full time jobs. And that they are volunteering as a service to keep the community safe. He said that they need to have these incentives to entice them to use their free time and to get more training to become volunteers. Currently about 45 of the State's 1000 apartments have fully paid staff with the rest being either mixed or -- volunteer and career. The others are all strictly volunteer James -- serving as the interim director of the Oklahoma council on firefighter training. So the fourteen firefighters have died in the line of duty in the state of Oklahoma. Nine volunteer. And five career between 1998. And 2000 -- Reynolds said that it's a dangerous job and they know it's a dangerous job. Represented -- -- increasing federal mandates on require training the firefighters must receive. For their departments to be eligible for grants is a growing factor and why it's so difficult to recruit volunteer firefighters. The CBC Lewis plans to -- a total of thirteen firefighters and five other city employees on October the first. -- Saint Louis firefighters union president immediately responded to a firefighter layoffs saying that would violate the contract between the city and it's firefighters. President Jason -- of firefighters local 23. So that the union will block the layoffs of the firefighters. Possibly through the use of legal action. Right now there -- direct violation of the contract Blackmon said after the mayor announced layoffs at a news conference at City Hall. -- -- It's devastating to the department. Because it will put our lives we put our lives on the line every day and we are already understaffed. It's a slap in our face. There parks said that he and other city officials explore the other possibilities determined that the layoffs would be the best option now to balance -- city's budget. By the end of this fiscal year. Parks and that he believed the city could legally -- off the firefighters the move will reduce the number of -- Saint Louis firefighters. From 58 to 45. The mayor added that the city would more likely depend heavily on mutual aid from other departments to fight the worst fires. Firefighters from Saint Louis Washington park Centerville. And other nearby communities have helped in Saint Louis battle blazes in the past. According to -- -- the last thing you want to do is lay off police or firefighters because that impacts public safety. Park said this is -- last choice we want to make but you have to operate in a fiscally responsible way. Fire chief Williams and -- said that his department would do the best it could to continue to respond promptly and efficiently to put out fires. Even if the layoffs occur as scheduled on October 1. These firefighters chose this profession and -- said. You have to do whatever it takes and that comes down when it comes down to according to canal -- that one man would be doing 25%. More of the work if the layoffs happen. City of Lawrence Massachusetts had temporarily stop responding to EMS calls after the -- of ten firefighters. The city's fire chief and decided that he would focus on the department's primary mission. A firefighting and stopped responding. To EMS calls employees with the exception firefighters. In the city of warrants had agreed to take unpaid furloughs to cut the cut fiscal budget. However firefighters did not agree to the far furloughs because the fire department still had nineteen unfit filled positions. The uproar both politically and socially in the community. After the fire department stopped responding to EMS calls. Cause the fire chief to re assess his view. Fire chief Peter to -- said. That he will now have a limited response. Prior to chief's orders had stopped firefighters from going to medical calls on August the fourteenth. Into the budget cuts and the closure of two fire houses and ten layoffs. But after meeting with his deputy chiefs and the mayor he did set a plan in action where firefighters can respond to EMS calls. On a limited basis. To quote the chief. We realize it's too important for us to drop in us altogether. If none of our apparatus are already committed to it incident or out of service. We will respond to life threatening medical calls. But only one at a time. That's what we are trying our best to do. And now -- final word. As a close this week's -- we can review. I can only say that these incredibly fool -- -- ill advised layoffs and furloughs of firefighting forces must stop now. Incredible jeopardy but these furloughs are creating in our communities is simply unconscionable. To have leadership in the political ranks both locally and nationally. Which is so ill advised and so reckless is an affront to the very foundations of our industry and our nation. Cutting funding for fire services is a moral issue more than anything else. At a time -- eight billion is being slated to be given. To irresponsible community organizations. America's oldest and most noble community organization. Is being literally thrown under the boss if you wanna see example. Of a well organized community group. -- a well organized fire department. If you want to see a fine example of service color -- service find a good fire department. If you wanna see example of commitment of integrity of responsibility. Of influence of perseverance and humility visit your local fire department. The time is long past that we firefighters sit idly by and hope that someone is going to lead this great profession. It is time for real firefighters to stand up and read. It is time that we get out of our chairs and have our voices heard and demand that our profession -- adequately funded adequately respected. Not only in our local communities but in the halls of congress. I for one and that is hell and I don't intend to take it anymore. I'm going to shout and continue shouting until our voices are heard and want to scream in the halls of congress and we are screened for his bully pulpit for better funding for better training. And from greater recognition of the greatest local -- this country hats the American fire service. That's the final word. -- Bobby hall. That's the news. And remember. Be careful out there.