The fact is, that it’s difficult to reduce the fire department’s costs because calls for emergency service and expenses continue to increase faster than revenues. The city claims that one of the main reasons that they have these overtime increases is because of their hiring freeze plan they initiated during the recession. These overtime costs are simply the result of a lack of planning by the fire admin & city staff.
The Firefighters Union has a major concern that the city is making decisions about the public’s safety in a vacuum. The outgoing Mayor is directing the Fire Chief to shut down a fire engine that responds to over 3,000 calls a year without any response data to validate his decision.
The citizens should be aware that the City of Everett is not complying with Washington State law (RCW 35.103 Fire Department Performance Measures). The state mandated performance measure states that every city shall evaluate its level of service and deployment delivery and response time objectives on an annual basis. This mandated performance measurement system was put into place to provide information to all policymakers, so they can make better decisions. This law was established in 2007 and the City of Everett has only complied with this state law once in the last ten years.
The bottom line is that reduced staffing impacts the public’s safety. The firefighters have never asked for more overtime, just to be staffed appropriately. The Firefighters Union has offered many solutions on hiring and staffing which the city has repeatable rejected. We want our city to move forward and not backward, and we are hopeful that our new Mayor-elect understands that before it’s too late.
SHUTTING DOWN aid cars or a fire engine — EVEN TEMPORARILY — will mean LONGER response time to your emergency.
This puts the SAFETY of you and your family at RISK, especially when you consider:
- A fire can double in size in less than a minute. - In case of a cardiac arrest, a patient’s survival decreases at a rate of 10% for each minute without medical intervention. That same patient will experience permanent brain damage or death in less than six minutes.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Contact your Council members and the Mayor and tell them to keep fire companies and Aid cars OPEN by restoring proper staffing levels.
NFPA 1710 - The Industry Standard for Career Fire Departments
This standard specifies requirements for effective and efficient organization and deployment of fire suppression operations, emergency medical operations, and special operations to the public by career fire departments to protect citizens and the occupational safety and health of fire department employees.