1. #1
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    Default St Gabriel FD Closing?

    If the tax swap which is on the Oct 4 ballot fails then the City will be looking to trim $900,000 from it's budget. After the City of St Gabriel laid off earlier this spring, we only have 3 fulltimers (including the Chief) and one partimer. Come October 5th we will either have a totally volunteer department out here or not.

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    Default Election Update

    We knew it would be a tight race. I sat with the Fire Chief in the parking lot outside the polls while the votes were checked. When the results were released we knew the rumors were true. The Tax Swap FAILED by 130 votes. The people of St Gabriel have decided that the addition of paid personell to the volunteer FD is not what the City needs. I should know for certain by Monday if the Mayor plans on going ahead with the layoffs which will have me looking for another job.

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    Sorry to hear about that..But guess who will be the first ones to bitch when THEIR house burns down ?

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    Well, Mikey, and others, we are still operating at this time. The Mayor has been meeting with accountants and lawers all week. There is a special City Council meeting scheduled for Thursday Oct 24 to sort out some of the misinformation about the Tax swap. Also that is when we will learn about any job cuts. Our State Representitive was able to secure a Rural Development Grant for about $50,000 which will help with some of the budget but is really only a drop in the bucket. We already know that the Mayor intends to lay off any contract workers, mostly maintiance department, and other services may be cut as well. St Gabriel FD still has the Fulltime Fire Chief, 2 fulltime Firefighters and one Parttime Firefighter. Any or all of these jobs may be cut next week. The East Iberville Volunteer FD continues to loose members. This week another volunteer Firefighter turned in his gear at the station and confirmed that he will be moving out of the area soon. Most of us paid guys are making plans should we loose our jobs. I will be applying at area ambulance services as an EMT and have removed my red lights and siren from my car since I am cutting back on my volunteer activities. The other fulltimer has made plans to move out of the district to a neighboring city where he has plans to start his own business. The Parttimer is also looking at the possibility of moving away to go to college. Keep in mind that we are all members of the East Iberville VFD when we are not working our regular hours for SGFD so if we leave there will be even less manpower in the area should something happen. The Mayor has announced that he plans to put the tax swap on the ballot for a 3rd time in April. We shall have to wait to see what happens next.

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    Good luck Steve. It is always a terrible thing when firefighters lose thier jobs. I wish the people of your parish would wake up and realize its about THEIR lives too.

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    Mikey,
    Like you said, they will be the first to bitch. The sad thing is that this is not a local occurance. I am reading on Firehouse.com main page about departments of every size loosing budgets and staff. New York is closing firehouses and FFs in Florida are fighting to keep their jobs. The list goes on and on. The volunteer departments are hurting too. People just don't have the time to devote to training and running calls like they used to. One of the locals wrote a letter to the newpaper saying how we don't need the paid St Gabriel Fire Department because the East Iberville Volunteer Fire Department has been doing the job well enough for 20 years. She complained that the shortage of volunteers was due to the Chief 'running off' people like her husband who want to be members. She forgot to mention that the reason the Chief had her hubby turn in his gear was that he was not attending meetings, training or meeting his quota of calls. Seriously, Mikey, would you want to be pulling hose at a burner and turn around to see the guy at your back is someone who hasn't made any training and only one meeting and the Christmas party in the last year? We don't require alot in our small department. You don't need to get your FireFighter 1 certification, or even First Responder medical card. We don't hold alot of formal training either. Still, every month or so we try to have a day were we have some kind of bs training at our main station. It might be on hose and pump operations or PPE/SCBA use or something simular. Yet we still have people unwilling to show up so we finally have to ask them to turn their pager and gear in. Then feelings get hurt because they still think that it's a socal club that sometimes runs to fires instead of a fire department that is a good place to socialise between calls or training.
    Be Safe,
    Last edited by Cellblock776; 10-14-2003 at 12:59 PM.

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    Default Quit SGFD

    Yesterday was my last day as a full-time firefighter for St Gabriel Fire Department. I took a job with American Citadel Guard as a Security Officer/ EMT at one of the plants nearby. After weeks of rumors and waiting to hear what the Mayor had up his sleeve for 'Plan B' I decided to get while the getting was good. I will be making more money and have better benefits at the Guard company than I do with St Gabriel Fire.
    My buddy, Danny, who got moved to part-time status this summer after the first round of budget cuts, will be taking my full-time slot and I'm going to part-time. The parttime slot Danny worked will be taken by me and the firefighters we layed off earlier this summer who had been working parttime. We will rotate taking the 10 hours a week parttime slot so some of us may only work 1 day a month. So we hired back the partimers but didn't create any new shifts for them. There's the full-time Chief and the 2 fulltime firefighters who work opposite of each other, then about 6 part-timers to fill one 10 hour a week slot. The Main Station on Hwy 30 will still only be open from 6am-6pm everyday and closed at night.
    Of course there's the ever dwindeling pool of vollies from the East Iverville Volunteer Fire Department. This past week the Parlimentarian for the VFD moved out of the district and left the department. It's getting pretty roomy around here.
    The Mayor and City Council, after postponing the meeting twice, will hold a special City Council Meeting on Oct 30 to discuss the future plans for the City. I would like to attend to hear what bunch of lies and misinformation gets put out from everyone who will be there. Sadly, I will probably be hard at work at my new job as a Security Officer. I know that the City can't continue to operate without the tax increase and the voters refuse to pass it so it was only a matter of time till we got cut. So I think I did the right thing by leaving for a job that was offered to me instead of waiting until I got my layoff slip then having to scramble for a job. Good luck to Danny and Travis, the 2 fulltimers still hanging in there hoping for good news.

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    When their houses burn down, maybe then the residents will realize the error of their ways. Good luck Steve. Keep us posted on any developments.

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    How do cuts to the Paid Firefighters affect the citizens? Slow responce times? No responce? It's happening here. Lately we've had people complain that it took too long for the volunteers to respond to thier calls for help. Well they don't knowhow lucky they are. In the past few weeks we've had several calls where nobody at all responded to the 911 pageout. A Dialysis patient calls in the middle of the night with difficulty breathing and nobody from the FD goes while the 911 center sets off the pagers 4 times. The paid guys are off duty and the vollies are trying to sleep. The police sit with the patient for 30 minutes until an ambulance arrives. Then a few nights later the ambulance service has 911 page us out to set up a night landing zone for the medical helicopter. Three times the pagers go off and no volunteers went and no paid guys were working. The helicopter was unable to land and the patient was transported by ground units. Just his week the fire alarm goes off at the local Truckstop/casino and the fire department pagers are toned 3 times. Finaly a 4th tone comes across to tell everyone that the call was canceled and that the Police Department had reset the alarm. No firefighters went to the truckstop that night either. Maybe the St Gabriel Police Department needs to buy a pumper since they were at the Difficulty breathing call and the landing zone call and the truck stop call and each time they stood there waiting for firefighters who never showed. The Chief of our department has a saying. "You can't MAKE a volunteer do anything." That includes training, equiptment or station maintance, meetings and obviously it includes actual calls. "What if you had an emergency and nobody came?" I know the answer to that question. "Sucks to be You."

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    Default No More EMS

    The Board of Directors of the East Iberville Volunteer Fire Department voted Wednesday, Nov 6 to suspend all EMS operations, to include setting up Night Landing Zones, by the Department. Citing a lack of personel, equiptment or budget to continue sending First Responders to medical calls the Board voted to only run calls related to Haz-Mat, Wrecks or Fire Alarms. All medical calls will be handled solely by the primary EMS service for Iberville Parish, Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc.
    While the Mayor of St Gabriel has not laid off any paid firefighters yet, he did layoff 4 maintiance workers, an administrative employee and a social services employee last week. More cuts are expected soon.

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    Steve,

    It sounds like typical Louisiana politics at work... and People cut taxes where they are needed the most.. It's Sad to hear we lost a valuable service to the community as well as assistance on medical calls, since that area has a long response time...

    Glad to hear you found another job though..

    People will wake up when there house burns or there love one dies, including the volunteers that don't want to train or respond to calls..

    Our tax bond is up in April of 2004 and last time it barely passed so I know how the department and personnel feels.. The department I belong to is holding off on major purchases to make sure we have money to operate on next year if the bond fails...

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