What Grand Rapids (MI) administrators are calling a means to improve firefighter safety has firefighters grousing, according to a mlive.com report (http://bit.ly/xcTEsg). At issue is a four-year pact approved last month that prohibits Grand Rapids Fire Department firefighters from responding to calls elsewhere on their off days. The ban applies to firefighters who work for other fire departments on a part-time basis when they are off duty.
Many Grand Rapids employees also serve their own communities as volunteers or part-time firefighters. But, administrators cite injuries as possible complications that will directly affect the department. One example is if a firefighter suffers a work-related illness or injury, it is hard to determine if the injury or illness stems from a firefighter’s full-time work or part-time work.
Training costs are also given as a reason for the ban. City taxpayers pay for Grand Rapids firefighter training, and some consider it a conflict to use tax dollars to train firefighters from other departments. That said, some firefighters have received training at the suburban departments.
Union officials also say that the provision could encourage more consolidation among area fire departments. Grand Rapids is currently studying the possibility of consolidating with two other area departments.
For more information, visit http://bit.ly/xcTEsg.