Union warns move may lead to 'preventable deaths'

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Fire Department is kicking off 2011 by further reducing staffing to help save money.

Chief Millage Peaks said he would take seven fire companies off the daily roster, meaning that 22 of the department’s 153 companies will be out of service each day on a rotating basis, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The staffing reduction should help Peaks cut a $30 million budget deficit in a way that does not put public safety at risk.

More Cutbacks Could Be Coming to Fire Department and Other Agencies as LA Tries to Eliminate Debt, KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz Reports

But union boss Pat McOsker, president of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112, said he was troubled by the idea, warning that it would lead to delayed responses and “preventable deaths.”

“During high-incident episodes there will be fire station districts with no fire companies in them, meaning whole neighborhoods will go unprotected,” he wrote in an e-mail.

When the new fiscal year starts July 1, the city will be facing a $350 million deficit, and the mayor could call on Peaks for further staffing reductions.

A company, in LAFD vernacular, can be a four-person fire engine, or a six-person hook-and-ladder truck accompanied by a pump vehicle.

The fire department has imposed furloughs, offered early retirement to veteran employees and put in place a staffing plan that has scaled back the number of engine companies by 15 on any given day.

Staff assistants, who act as drivers and secretaries to high-ranking firefighters, could be reassigned next.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (11)
  1. andy says:

    Get rid of the 24 hour work day…with built in overtime

    They let them work up to 72 straight hours…..with massive overtime and fatigue

    1. Mike says:

      We are NOT paid any OT during our normal 24 hour shifts.

    2. c says:

      hey andy, do you have an knowledge of the fire service…or are you as ignorant as you sound?

    3. George Otwell says:

      Here is a way to save money charging the illegal immigrants anytime the fire department or ambulances are called that should close the 30 million dollar gap and we can keep all the fire departments ope. The free rides for the illegals should be over Los Angeles can not afford 1 more call to illegal immigrants. They need to pay. If us americans go to another country we are charged for there services so lets do the same here.

    4. john says:

      There are always those that don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Andy why don’t you get your facts straight. There is no OT involved in their normal shift.

  2. Marcus K Brown says:

    Agreed cut out mandatory OT
    Cut down on top heavy command staff
    More Frequent Rotation at stations
    Higher staffing at trouble spots
    Quit leasing expensive air tankers during firecseadon, buy them

    Let it burn, let it burn , let it burn

  3. Eddie Dilao says:

    If the people of Los Angeles does not have anymore to give to the city, then there is no more to give. My nephew is a marine. If he comes home and say, “I would really love to have a steak.” I say, “Gee, let’s go I will give you the juiciest steak in town. You give service to our country, why not. I’m buying.” Next day he says, “I would really love to have a lap top so that I may be able to keep up with my commander.” I say, “Well, you need that. Let’s go to Best Buy, I will get you one.” The third day he say, “I would really love to have a Porsche.” I say, “Wait a minute, are you really in the marines to serve the country, or do you just want to be a leach?” To Los Angeles Firefighters then: are you in it for the love of the job and to give back to the community or do you just want to be leach?”

  4. Corey says:

    Union warns move may lead to ‘preventable deaths’
    This statement means fatcat union bosses will be collecting less $$$ from mandatory dues and this, of course, will lead to work slowdowns and other coordinated job actions that will increase response times and likely result in a ‘preventable death’.

  5. c-man says:

    I work for the LAFD and our management is an absolute joke. I think an investigative reporter would love to know what really goes on. How our department encourages firefighters to file anonymous complaints against fellow firefighters. How about our unjustice discipline policy? How about a “no fail” policy for female recruits. Believe me, God help the citizens of Los Angeles if some of these incompetent firemen come to help you. If there are any investigative reporters that want to know the truth and not want to see smoke blown up their butts by these lipstick wearing piglet chiefs. Leave a way to contact you. It’s about the time the public gets informed about how things really are done.

  6. David Garcia says:

    Make them work 8 or 10 hour days 5 days a week. Stop any call back pay when they are off duty, for Band Aid calls that occur. This is a huge overtime expense for some Fire Departments.

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