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    Default Fire Department to Reduce Crew Sizes

    This just blows, good luck with the fight. If any department deserves to keep its staffing it is the FDNY

    December 2, 2009
    Fire Department to Reduce Crew Sizes on Pumpers to Limit Overtime Pay By AL BAKER
    With hundreds of city firefighters out of work every day for medical problems ranging from broken bones to more serious illnesses, the Fire Department is moving to reduce staffing at 49 engine companies in the five boroughs, city officials said Tuesday.

    Officials say the change, to take effect at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, is prompted by a provision in the labor contract that allows the city to reduce staffing when the average number of firefighters on medical leave citywide reaches a certain percentage over a 12-month period. In doing so, the city can avoid paying overtime to firefighters to keep engine companies at agreed-upon staffing levels.

    The move immediately ignited a new round of debate over an issue that has long been a source of contention between the department and the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the union that represents the city’s 8,800 rank-and-file firefighters. It is the third time since 2003 that the department has cut staffing at engine companies — a condition that usually lasts a few months, until sick firefighters return to work. The average number of firefighters out sick each day during the last three weeks has ranged from 500 to 700.

    “They are clearly spoiling for a fight on staffing and firehouse closings,” said Stephen J. Cassidy, the union’s president, who held a news conference on Tuesday afternoon to denounce the city’s decision.

    The 49 engine companies affected have five firefighters per shift and will lose one. Fifteen companies in the Bronx, 14 in Brooklyn, 12 in Manhattan, 7 in Queens and one on Staten Island are affected. Of the other 145 engine companies in the city, 134 are already staffed with four firefighters. The remaining 11 are always staffed with five firefighters, regardless of the medical leave numbers, because their members provide daily backup to companies whose firefighters call in sick.

    Ladder companies, in contrast, are staffed with five firefighters at all times. But Mr. Cassidy warned of reduced staffing at ladder companies as well if the number of those on medical leave in the engine companies outpaces those on hand to fill in for them. With the medical leave numbers rising for months, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who is leaving at year’s end, is exercising his discretion to reduce staffing at the 7.5 percent threshold. The contract mandates such cuts when the rate reaches 7.6 percent, officials said.

    “Increased medical leave is costing us more in overtime, and we’re going to do everything we can to be fiscally prudent in these difficult economic times,” Mr. Scoppetta said in a statement.

    Mr. Cassidy contended that a minimum of five firefighters per engine company was essential for the health and safety of firefighters and the public. The union also suggested that the prevalence of swine flu had driven the sick rate higher than normal, but the department said those numbers were negligible.

    One question I thought FDNY companies had 6 on a truck and 6 on busy engine companies? who aren't they counting, the officer?

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    UN-freakin'believable! WTF's next ,pink tutu tuesdays? T.C.

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    Not sure if it would be viable or not, but could they bring back laid off fire fighters temporarily. I believe its been said on here there have been a couple of lay offs. Those people may not be up 100% on the procedures, but it seems to make more sense than down manning fire apparatus and should still keep overtime down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADSNWFLD View Post
    This just blows, good luck with the fight. If any department deserves to keep its staffing it is the FDNY

    December 2, 2009
    ...
    Officials say the change, to take effect at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, is prompted by a provision in the labor contract that allows the city to reduce staffing when the average number of firefighters on medical leave citywide reaches a certain percentage over a 12-month period. In doing so, the city can avoid paying overtime to firefighters to keep engine companies at agreed-upon staffing levels.

    ...

    Mr. Cassidy contended that a minimum of five firefighters per engine company was essential for the health and safety of firefighters and the public.
    Just curious why you think FDNY deserves all of this staffing more than anyone else???

    Great part is the Union negotiated this contract and now they balk at the contract.

    And then they play the "People will die" card. Its the same thing every time there is a cut, how about something original?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Just curious why you think FDNY deserves all of this staffing more than anyone else???

    Great part is the Union negotiated this contract and now they balk at the contract.

    And then they play the "People will die" card. Its the same thing every time there is a cut, how about something original?
    As many well know on here, I'm a fanatic about staffing on fire apparatus, I feel 5 is both minimum and necessary on any pumper. We used 4 on an aerial, but I'm sure a good case could be made for 5. Well done to FDNY getting this enshrined. That being said, I do think that playing the death card is a mistake. Seems that the contract is quite clear and playing this card too often will simply turn the public off. Its recently been used with the dispatch system as well. This might be a time to suck it up on a temporary basis. 4 can do the job, just maybe a little slower. Not good, but manageable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    As many well know on here, I'm a fanatic about staffing on fire apparatus, I feel 5 is both minimum and necessary on any pumper. We used 4 on an aerial, but I'm sure a good case could be made for 5. Well done to FDNY getting this enshrined. That being said, I do think that playing the death card is a mistake. Seems that the contract is quite clear and playing this card too often will simply turn the public off. Its recently been used with the dispatch system as well. This might be a time to suck it up on a temporary basis. 4 can do the job, just maybe a little slower. Not good, but manageable.
    Last time the city played this game (2004-2005) it cost 4 people in a Brooklyn Tenement on the 6th floor their lives.

    Ask the surviving relatives if that is "manageble"

    This isn't a joke and it will mean people will die just like the UCT contributed to at least a half-dozen deaths.

    See this: 4 men v. 5 men and getting water on the fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Last time the city played this game (2004-2005) it cost 4 people in a Brooklyn Tenement on the 6th floor their lives.

    Ask the surviving relatives if that is "manageble"

    This isn't a joke and it will mean people will die just like the UCT contributed to at least a half-dozen deaths.

    See this: 4 men v. 5 men and getting water on the fire.
    Fred
    You're preaching to the pulpit here, but if you do make too big of a deal of this or play the death card or whatever, management/the city is simply going to come back with NFPA standards, examples of many other large cities who are continuously staffing with 4 or less. You can take this to the extreme and say that you would save more lives if you doubled the staffing on the dept and doubled the number of stations and equipment. Probably true, but there is a finite amount of resources everywhere and that is going to be a big driving force. In many emergency management systems, there is an acronym, ALARP, you're probably familiar with it. Simply its to manage risk and exposure to AS LOW AS REASONABLY PRACTICABLE. Finances are going to be a big factor in this equation. From what I have read on the news, this will be reviewed at the end of Dec and hopefully changed back.

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    I believe DC showed a marked increase in injuries following staffing reductions. Hopefully this doesn't lead to cycle of manpower cuts resulting in more injuries, which means more sick time so the city says, well we can contractually cut more, so and so on.


    how does FDNY figure out where to put the 5 man engines?

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    So who are we mad at here, they city for applying what was agreed to in the contract, the union for having agreed to this in the contract, or the brothers who have been taking off sick?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I believe DC showed a marked increase in injuries following staffing reductions.
    Not only did DC have a tremendous increase in line-injuries, but they also suffered several line-deaths.
    DC has been very forthcoming with statistics and data for us in our budget wars.

    The fact is, if line staffing is cut, people will be hurt and killed as a direct result.
    The thing about reductions in staffing is that nothing changes about the fire. It still takes the same number of people to stretch hand lines, to force doors, to ventilate, to drag victims out, etc... regardless of how many people are on a fire company.

    People need to realize this. We have been involved in a street fight with staffing for over five years now, and the fact is that people are willing to trade a few dollars for lives and injuries. People don't believe that they will ever need the services of the fire department. It is more important for people to save ten, fifteen or twenty dollars on their tax bills, than it is for them to have properly staffed and funded emergency services. People are unwilling to cut non-essential city programs, even on a temporary basis in order to boost funding for police/fire.




    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Hopefully this doesn't lead to cycle of manpower cuts resulting in more injuries, which means more sick time so the city says, well we can contractually cut more, so and so on.
    Unfortunately it will be more cuts, with more injuries, etc... because the powers that be never factor that side, and quite frankly don't care.


    Best of luck to the FDNY.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey View Post
    So who are we mad at here, they city for applying what was agreed to in the contract, the union for having agreed to this in the contract, or the brothers who have been taking off sick?
    Interesting point of view.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Not sure if it would be viable or not, but could they bring back laid off fire fighters temporarily. I believe its been said on here there have been a couple of lay offs. Those people may not be up 100% on the procedures, but it seems to make more sense than down manning fire apparatus and should still keep overtime down.
    Noone has been layed off since the 70s I believe. If a company was a
    5 man engine and has been reduced to 4, then the extra
    man is in the manpower pool and will be detailed to a company that is short for that tour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VinnieB View Post
    Noone has been layed off since the 70s I believe. If a company was a
    5 man engine and has been reduced to 4, then the extra
    man is in the manpower pool and will be detailed to a company that is short for that tour.
    OK I guess I was mistaken then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I believe DC showed a marked increase in injuries following staffing reductions. Hopefully this doesn't lead to cycle of manpower cuts resulting in more injuries, which means more sick time so the city says, well we can contractually cut more, so and so on.


    how does FDNY figure out where to put the 5 man engines?
    It depended on work, response area, and if a company had a special piece such as the satillite.
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    ANSDWLFD, no, officers are not counted. They are not firefighters
    anymore, they are fire officers, they supervise. Different union too. They
    are not counted b/c they do not employ any of the tools other than a flashlight. They need to supervise the men
    to ensure operations are smooth and safe, they can't do that if they are focused on man handling ladders and hoses.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 12-03-2009 at 02:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Just curious why you think FDNY deserves all of this staffing more than anyone else???

    Great part is the Union negotiated this contract and now they balk at the contract.

    And then they play the "People will die" card. Its the same thing every time there is a cut, how about something original?
    Simple answer to why NYC should get this ... SHEER VOLUME.

    Which also means extreme life threats that 99% of other cities can't even contemplate.

    As for the guys off sick ... i bet this pushes quite a few back early .. which may lead to permanent injury .. workers comp claim. Prolly cost more in the long run.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post

    And then they play the "People will die" card. Its the same thing every time there is a cut, how about something original?
    You are such a mutt. Did you even read Fred's posts?
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    This may have been answered already but..

    This is just saying that they won't be covering sick FF's by calling in overtime, instead that crew will either run light (4) or if staffing falls below 4, have someone detailed from the manpower pool. Am I interpreting that right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    You are such a mutt. Did you even read Fred's posts?
    Yes I did. My question is how do you know those people wouldn't have died anyway?

    Here is the problem. Every time the management wants to change how things operate, cut cost, reduce staffing, close stations, name your change, you hear "People will die"

    Now put yourself in the shoes of the manager. I have a proposed change that I want to present. Right away I know the Union will say "People will die, safety will be compromised". I also know they have said this in the past. Yet, historically, I look and the number of the job injuries have not gone up as predicted in the past and the number of fatalities have not gone up either. (yes it sucks to reduce lives to a number ). We can not eliminate all injuries or deaths, sucks but that is the way it is. All we can do is compare how we performed in the past to how we perform today and in the future.


    It is like the Boy who cried wolf, Someday it will really be true, then what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by owenscott View Post
    Simple answer to why NYC should get this ... SHEER VOLUME.

    Which also means extreme life threats that 99% of other cities can't even contemplate.

    As for the guys off sick ... i bet this pushes quite a few back early .. which may lead to permanent injury .. workers comp claim. Prolly cost more in the long run.
    .

    It has more to do with construction than volume, although it helps to have the manpower available for when guys tap out from jobs as well besides primarily needing them to get a handlne into operation.

    The guys out sick will only come back when the department doctors who put them on medical leave in the first place say they are fit for duty. We don't work sick or injured. We also don't have workers comp.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey View Post
    So who are we mad at here, they city for applying what was agreed to in the contract, the union for having agreed to this in the contract, or the brothers who have been taking off sick?

    Excuse me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey View Post
    So who are we mad at here, they city for applying what was agreed to in the contract, the union for having agreed to this in the contract, or the brothers who have been taking off sick?
    IAFF

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    .

    It has more to do with construction than volume, although it helps to have the manpower available for when guys tap out from jobs as well besides primarily needing them to get a handlne into operation.

    The guys out sick will only come back when the department doctors who put them on medical leave in the first place say they are fit for duty. We don't work sick or injured. We also don't have workers comp.

    FTM-PTB
    Maybe I'm not understanding this FFFred or there's a difference in semantics. What do you mean you do not have workers comp. Here, workers comp covers every single employee in Alberta. For the FD, If you get hurt on the job, you receive your full pay until you are fit for duty or retired on a medical disability. Only difference is the Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Board pays the city 75% of your wages, sans taxes, and covers your health care costs to Alberta Health care. Makes absolutely no difference in your treatment or paycheck. FDNY must cover and pay anyone hurt or injured on the job, do they not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Maybe I'm not understanding this FFFred or there's a difference in semantics. What do you mean you do not have workers comp. Here, workers comp covers every single employee in Alberta. For the FD, If you get hurt on the job, you receive your full pay until you are fit for duty or retired on a medical disability. Only difference is the Provincial Occupational Health and Safety Board pays the city 75% of your wages, sans taxes, and covers your health care costs to Alberta Health care. Makes absolutely no difference in your treatment or paycheck. FDNY must cover and pay anyone hurt or injured on the job, do they not?
    Workers Comp is an insurance program usually run by each State. Our EMS people I believe are covered by NYS workers comp.

    We have unlimited LOD inj/sick by law and Non-service conected by contract. The city essentially covers the entire cost for us regardless if we are full duty or medical leave or light duty.

    And yes they are liable to cover us although getting prescriptions covered, although getting better, continues to be a problem.

    FTM-PTB

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    Yes I did. My question is how do you know those people wouldn't have died anyway?
    Are you for real? I mean I know most of what you post is done just to get a rise out of your antagonists on here, but jesus man this takes the cake. NO firefighter or even a person who has ever stepped into a firehouse can truly believe that we can base our staffing or responses on thinking people would've died anyway. What the hell is wrong with you???

    Let me make this real simple for you:
    Your f**king job is to do everything you can to save people...end of story.

    I really do try to refrain from getting personal on here, but between you and LA FireEd I just can't take anymore of your bulls**t. The above comment just broke the camels back and I can hold back no longer.
    That you and that other lamebrain are always trying to push that we shouldn't be doing our all in saving the lives of the public is an affront to every damn one of us that takes this job seriously. You guys are a glaring example of what's wrong in the fire sevice today and God help anyone that has to live where you are.


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    Last edited by FFPCogs08; 12-04-2009 at 07:55 AM.

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