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  1. #1
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    Default Consolidation in Fla

    Lets see what outsiders think.

    Here in Orlando/Orange County, FL consoldidation is a hot topic. That's between the Orlando Fire Department and Orange County Fire Rescue Department. Here is some history.
    OCFR was formed in 1981 with consolidation of all fire districts which served diffirent areas of unincorporated Orange County. Today OCFR operates 38 stations. 37 Engines, 4 Trucks, 2 Quints, 28 Rescues (ALS transport units), 3 Squads (Heavy Rescues), 1 Medical Helicopter, 8 Battalion chiefs, etc. We had 96,000+ calls last year and protect some of the biggest tourist destinations such as Seaworld and I-Drive. We have approx. 1100 sworn and over 100 civilian.
    Orlando Fire Department has been around for 120 years and has 14 stations. They protect the city limits with 14 Stations, 15 engines, 8 rescues, 5 trucks, 1 heavy rescue, 1 hazmat unit, and have about 450 sworn ( I think).

    OFD is fighting all they can to prevent consolidation with OCFR. They say they fight fires better, have better staffing, better pay, etc. According to Firehouse Nat'l Run Survey 2004 OCFR makes more money. OCFR protects urban area, suburban areas, and rural areas. OFD protects primarliy an urban area. Why the county wants to consolidate. Orlando annexes and makes predicting and planning coverage difficulty. OCFR has a station 1.5 miles from Downtown Orlando. Orlando will not annex this area because it is low income, no taxes. But OFD has stations 7+ miles from downtown core. This is because of valuabe property. So we constantly have County and City units passing each other. The county said lets consolidate to eleviate this. OCFR is a very good progressive department and so is OFD. Our SOPS and other admin type stuff is very different. I ask why we can't work together under one department. OFD Union filed a complaint with IAFF saying consolidation would have grave impact on its members and the county union should not be supporting consolidation that would impact brother firefighters.. Annexation will eventually cause layoffs. Consolidation would save jobs and form a new department. Thanks OFD brothers.


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    Default www.supportconsolidation.com


  3. #3
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    So managment has managed to set the two locals against each other on this topic? They must be rubbing their hands with glee. This is an issue the two locals should have settled amongst themselve BEFORE making public statements about supporting or opposing consolidation
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    You've got to be kidding right! You (Orange County) are actively campaigning to take jobs away from another union! It is sad that the two unions couldn't come up with a plan that works for both. Orange County is starting to use quints. This is the begining of the end of your truck companies and truck work. Are you down to 3 person staffing on the trucks. I also see where the Rescue squads are now carrying a pump and water. Soon the engines will be transport-capable(Just kidding I hope). Jacks of all trades, Masters of none comes to mind. We lost our 4th person on our trucks and rescue squads when he was here. Our truck work suffered tremendously. Also OC only has 4 trucks in what 600 sq.miles while OFD has 4 in a tenth of that. You guys need to open your eyes! Annexation can only be stopped by the people sometimes. Why not work out a plan for any city.local that annexes land pick up x amount of county firefighters starting with the young guys. If they get a huge area and stations bring guys over at grade. See LA County they have a plan to bring on when they take over a city. Work together not against each other.

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    End of truck companies. Don't think so. Quints were put in suburban areas where trucks were not really needed. Our urban areas have trucks that protect them. We (Orange Co.) just received delivery of an E-One Bronto Skylift 114' and a new 95' platform. But we're doing away with trucks. Staffing! 70% of our 37 engines are four man and the rest 3. Unlike Orlando we hire overtime if someone calls out sick/vacation etc. OFD spreads their manning around because they can't afford to hire overtime. So there so called 4 man units are not always four man. OFD is lucky they didn't layoff FF's due to there falling budget. Rumor is OFD will no longer be buying rescues, no money. Rescue 8 is running out of an old suburban. Orange Co. just received 6 new ones and 6 ordered for next year. We have budget that is plentiful. But thatís not what this is about. Consolidation is about more efficient services for the citizens. An OC unit passing OFD units and vice/versa because of boundaries is crazy. People die that way and we're both to blame. I know OFD has been around for 120 years, but OFD needs to look to the future. We are progressing. EMS is a big part of the future. OC just purchased 27 autopulse's for each of our rescues totaling over $400.000. We're striving to make all of our area FD transport. OFD wants nothing to do with it. We're taking coverage areas from Rural/Metro and offering Rural/Metro Paramedics/EMT's opportunities to test for non-certified firefighter program. FD transport is better for the citizens. Cheaper and improved care. How would consolidating take jobs from OFD. It would create jobs. When was the last time OFD hired anybody. OC hires approx. 150 FF's a year. We've also implemented CPAT testing. OFD just can't imagine the amount of resources OC has. Maybe OFD should open there eyes and be more receptive.

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    So excatly who IS in favor of this merger? Excluding the Orange County local. I wouldnt use a magazines run survey to compare wages, benefits etc. Your department seems pretty big. What is the benefit to the residents of your County? If Orlando is such an onus, whats the payoff for consolidation? LA City and LA County seem to make it work. I totally agree with those who think two locals duking it out would be very counter productive in the long run. Im actually a big proponent of consolidation of SMALL DEPARTMENTS. However, it has to be a situation where everyone is agreeable to it. This will never work.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    I agree, I'm surprised that someone (The District V.P. or the State Organization) didn't try to head this off before it started
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    The County put it on the ballot in 2004 asking citizens whether to have a study to consolidate services between City of Orlando and Orange County. This is many services just not fire. Parks and Rec is actually one of the number one targets for consolidation and then fire. It passed with 63% approval. OFD Union filed a lawsuit against Orange County Government stating that OC had no right to put this on the ballot. The judge threw out the lawsuit. There is 9 member panel doing the study. The city was able to pick four and county five, along with one manager hired with a salary of $100,000. The study will be completed by 2008 for the next elections. So it will most likely come down to a vote by the citizens whether they want it or not. The county would like to have the study done as soon as possible so they could maybe enter into negotiations with the city. So it probaly won't matter what each union thinks. OC union is supporting consolidation to save jobs. Annexation will eventually cause layoffs. The truth is that no OC FF cares whether they step foot into a city fire station. They just want to know they have a future.

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Sounds like it will be real pleasant if this occurs.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    So you are saying it is in effect legal for any county to take over the services of any city government? Wow

    This could bode badly for any city in the USA
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    Well, if the citizens want it then it should be. The County is not just going to go over and take it. In 1981 when the 6 independent fire departments were forced to consolidate into what is now Orange County Fire Rescue everybody hated it and said it would be terrible. All of those people now say it was the best thing ever to happen. Right now they are just studying it and would present their findings when finished. Its worked for several places Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Charlotte N.C., Nashville, etc.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjk1171
    Well, if the citizens want it then it should be. The County is not just going to go over and take it. In 1981 when the 6 independent fire departments were forced to consolidate into what is now Orange County Fire Rescue everybody hated it and said it would be terrible. All of those people now say it was the best thing ever to happen. Right now they are just studying it and would present their findings when finished. Its worked for several places Jacksonville, Miami-Dade, Charlotte N.C., Nashville, etc.
    The citizens are going to vote for whoever offers them the cheapest tax rate, this is often not actually the best choice
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

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    I believe the concept has proven itself. Buy in large quantities and the cheaper it is. Doesn't necessarilly mean the product is not as good. And more importantly having the nearest units responding and working cooperatively together.

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    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjk1171
    I believe the concept has proven itself. Buy in large quantities and the cheaper it is. Doesn't necessarilly mean the product is not as good. And more importantly having the nearest units responding and working cooperatively together.
    Cheaper is better huh? real union stance there brother
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

  15. #15
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    You say this in one post "OC union is supporting consolidation to save jobs. Annexation will eventually cause layoffs." and this in another "OC hires approx. 150 FF's a year." Well which is it you cant say that you will lay off firefighters and be hiring at the same time. Whare are your facts about annexation causing layoffs. The only records available from Orange County are a quote from your chief in the newspaper, NO FACTS NO FIGURES.
    There are several other troubling statments in your posts.
    OFD has only use 68% of the overtime budget for the calender year so we can and do hire for OT when needed.
    OFD's four man engines are four man our trucks are four man.
    We currently have 3 new rescues on order we also just took delivery of 3 new engines.
    You may need to check your facts.

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    The OFD info came from an OFD member. Is it not true rescue are running out of old suburbans right now. And that four man units have been downed to three. Didn't engine 5 go OOS for shift due to staffing. I'm sorry if some the info may inaccurate but this is what some sources are saying. And yes, annexation will EVENTUALLY cause layoffs. Right now unincorporated area is growing 10 times faster than what any city can annex. However, just as we saw last year, when 25% of our budget attempts to be annexed things like layoffs could happen. I don't like the fact that the two depts are at odds over this. I truly think the Orlando Fire Department is a great dept. But I'm pretty sick and tired of hearing OFD guys talk about how OCFR sucks. Its just not true. We are very good. I have worked at 3 other depts before settling here. We put 33 units on scene of a tanker fire in minutes last week. The things we could do if we worked together would be amazing. And the benefits to the citizens would be better than that. We have to stop working against each other. Our union already said it would dissolve and join yours. We are really trying to compromise here. And ask any OC FF and they don't care if its called Orlando, Orange County, Orange-Orlando, Orlando-Metro, or wewhahotee.

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    First I never said any thing about OCFRD, I just asked you where you got your facts. I still want to know how you can say that annexation will cause layoffs. You state "And yes, annexation will EVENTUALLY cause layoffs. Right now unincorporated area is growing 10 times faster than what any city can annex. However, just as we saw last year, when 25% of our budget attempts to be annexed things like layoffs could happen." you contradict yourself. If the county growth is that fast, then why not re-allocate firefighters and equipment and slow down hiring. You have said that annexation will cause layoffs, now you say layoffs could happen, again I ask you for your facts or figures.

    The City is not allowed to take an engine company out of service for the shift, we have a minimum manning requirement. What day did this happen?

    We have a Rescue that has been running out of an old district vehicle. We are not the primary transport agency in the city so this is not an issue. This rescue was totaled in an accident, while the rescue was responding to a call. The rescue was placed in service in a reserve vehicle that same day, minimum manning requirement. As I previously stated we have three new ones on order.

    I agree that the departments could work together better than they do now. It is tough to believe that Orange County Local 2057 is willing to dissolve and become part of Local 1365, when on two different occasions they would not meet at a IAFF mandated meetings with Local 1365. Local 1365 had to file charges with the IAFF for violation of international bylaws. IAFF President had to get involved before Local 2057 would meet. Check out Local 1365's web page for more www.orlandolocal1365.org.

    Where is the compromise with the former Supportconsolidation web site. It tried to show OFD in a very negative view. It seems like Local 2057 is playing a dangerous game when the IAFF told them to shut down the web site, and now it is owned by one of the officers in that same local, I understand that it is the same person who was running the web site for the local.

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    Areas that get annexed right now are not affecting OCFRD as of now. But last year when the City was going to annex I-drive which would take approx. 25-30 million out of our 140 million budget, thats a big hit. Why do you think if was fought so aggressively. Jobs would be lost. Station 57 will be opening at the convention center on I-drive in a few months and will house a 4 man engine. If I-drive were annexed 4 stations close. We can't slow down hiring because all units are going to four man. 60-70% of engines are there and once the engines are complete the trucks will go four. More rescues are being placed in service also. So yes many jobs are being created but at the same time these jobs are in jeopardy. If we consolidated, it doesn't matter what gets annexed. Annex the whole county. That would also make it easier for the city to annex, fire stations already in place. The OFD info that I recently posted came from an OFD member. So I figured it was true. I sincerely appologize for any incorrect info. The supportconslidation website is facts only that make consolidation look appealing. But they are facts and direct quotes. The website will be owned by an OC FF but will not be associated with the union local 2057. Nothing illegal with that. I'm curious to know what the majority of OFD members think about consolidation. I know local 1365 strongly opposes it. This doesn't always mean thats what the ff's think. Some of our ff's oppose it also. Old timers. I know of an OFD ff that is for it.

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    I hope the IAFF upholds the charges against the leadership of Local 2057. From what I can tell they are not only just looking out for themselves, they are going against the wishes of another local. That is some BROTHERHOOD Orange County.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    The annexation of county area's may be of some inconvience to OCFRD, but the chief is well aware of the area's that are to be annexed and when the annexation should take place. The annexation plan for the Orlando area was spelled out years ago in the Joint Planning Agreement. The City commission and the County council both agreed to this plan over 10 year ago. So you chief and the Orange County Mayor shouldn't be surprised when the City annexes areas.

    How can you say that jobs would be lost, since the annexation did not go through OCFRD has hired over 300 firefighters (your #s). Instead of hiring at such a rate you could move firefighters to the newly developed areas and put the other firefighters on rigs to make the units 4 man.

    "If we consolidated, it doesn't matter what gets annexed. Annex the whole county. That would also make it easier for the city to annex, fire stations already in place." WHAT??? I donít understand this statement. If consolidation occurred the annexation issue is a mute point.

    I can give you my opinion regarding consolidation. I think that consolidation of the two departments is a bad idea for the citizens of Orlando, they currently have an ISO 2 rated department protecting them. Response times in the city are better than the national average, initial response personnel puts the majority of the firefighters and apparatus on scene much faster than the national average. Initial response to a single family home is 3 engines, 2 trucks, 1 rescue, heavy rescue, district chief, once a working fire is confirmed you get an additional engine, truck, air truck and district chief. The citizens have the safety knowing that any unit that arrives at their house is able to initiate ALS. There are only 5 engines in the city that are not 4 man all of the time and all of these are house with at least a rescue, some are housed with a truck and rescue. All of five of the cities Truck companies are four man, most of the rescues are double medic trucks. OFD has a very aggressive Firefighting SOP, with an emphasis on life safety (citizen rescue). I believe that consolidation would be a detriment to the citizens by changing the current way their fire protection is provided.

    If consolidation occurs what benefit is it to the Citizens of Orlando?

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