Firefighters call on public to put the brakes on Fire plan

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Rob Shaughnessy Secretary SSMPFFA Local 529 speaks to media Wednesday morning

Sault Ste. Marie Professional firefighters are seeking the public’s support by letting the community know they stand by their message that the Fire Chief’s plan approved by council to reduce the number of firefighters by 20 positions over the next three years.

Rob Shaughnessy Secretary SSMPFFA Local 529  spoke to media Wednesday morning.
“the level of service provided to the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie has and will continue to be impacted by the slashing of 20 firefighters by council, we are appealing to the public to contact members of council and demand that the pause button be pushed , in order to fully understand the consequences of council. ” Shaughnessy said. “Time is required to investigate the unanswered questions and concerns”
Firefighters held a press conference Wednesday morning in front of the Number 1 fire hall
Firefighters held a press conference Wednesday morning in front of the Number 1 fire hall

Fire Chief  Mike Figliola presented his three way plan that reduces the number of firefighters based on an 80 percent in reduction in fire calls. The cuts would come from attrition. The full compliment of professional firefighters stands at 83. Five employees have retired since early Summer of this year, another 20 are expected to retire within 3 years.

The Firefighters association is calling for a “comprehensive risk assessment and a fire underwriter’s study are required and expected when making these types of decisions”  Shaughnessy said, however he could not answer who would pay for it.
There are currently 83 firefighters in the Sault, in three years there will be 63 according to the plan.
There are currently 83 firefighters in the Sault, in three years there will be 63 according to the plan.

Shaughnessy said the association is willing to sit down with the city and the fire chief but stresses the citizens need to know the full impact of council’s decision.

The association was criticized for failing to co-operate and not meeting with the Chief prior to the Chief presenting his plan. “as an association we were given five days notice” Shaughnessy said. “That was brought up at the council meeting and was taken completely out of context, there’s a lot of back story to that and we can get into further detail at a later date and we look forward to bringing that information to the public”
“The plan presented is very fluid and at any given time council can put the brakes to this plan and that’s what we’re appealing to the public for”
The association says the Chief’s plan already is under the standard recommended number of firefighters required for a residential house fire.
In his report to council, Association President Marty Kenopic said, “in many cases in North America, emergency medical response issues have been alleviated by giving firefighters more medical training and responsibilities, in fact a number of years ago, Chief Figliola successfully pioneered a system that gave firefighters elsewhere in Ontario enhanced medical capabilities, in order to alleviate EMS resource issues, why aren’t the chief and council looking at that model?”
Shaughnessy said though the association is willing to work the issues out, to say that we are willing to accept reductions , in our opinion we’re running at a minimum right now”

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. What qualifies Ward Councillors to make decisions like this without having comprehensive risk assessment and fire underwriters study.This has to be bonehead decision by an un imformed council.These Councillors are not experts on firefighting This is an essential service that we taxpayers pay for and letting 12 uninformed people make this decision is wrong.We need to support out firefighters in this important issue.When we need our firefighters they are there for us.They need our help and we should be there for them.

  2. What program did he successfully pioneer that gave fire fighters enhanced medical privilages? If you are talking about the Fire-Medic program, understand that there is no way in hell that program will fly. The Ontario Base Hospital Group has shot that down numerous times and it has no merit in Ontario or else where. Dont send an electrician to fix a leaky pipe and dont send a fire fighter to a medical call. Stick to AED where its proven to help in a small percentage of times.

  3. Unemployment Rate in SSMarie Will go up Again
    On Sept. 14, 2015 at a city council meeting, it was announced that the unemployment rate in Sault Ste. Marie was a staggering 12.2%. City council showed great concern.
    On Oct. 26th. council adopted the Fire Chiefs plan to rid Fire Services of 20 fire fighters by attrition. Regardless of how the plan is instituted, it means that the unemployment rate will increase once again.
    How could council, now, approach any business or level of government for help with this problem when they themselves are part of the problem.

  4. What a ridiculous decision on the part of town council. I bet if the fire chief was out there fighting the fires with the fire fighters, he would think twice about these cuts. How irresponsible of him and council to put hard working men and women at risk! Shame on you!! Your firefighters need your support.

  5. Everyone should contact your concil with your concerns. this is outrageous, come on let your voice be heard. I have to assume that council will listen.

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