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Troy firefighters union concerned over staffing

October 02, 2019 11:17 PM

TROY – The Troy Firefighters Union is speaking out about concerns over the number of firefighters on shift at two of the fire stations in the city

Eric Wisher, the President of the Troy Uniform Firefighters Association, said at the Bouton Road and Lansingburgh Stations when they get a medical call that means no one is then there to answer a fire call.

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“Medic two just went out on a call in the east side of the city with engine three,” explained Wisher Tuesday night at the Bouton Road Station. “So this engine will be off duty for at least an hour while that ambulance is doing its call."

Wisher said because they are at the medical call, no one is available to operate the engine or ladder at those stations. So if a fire were to happen right across the street from one of those two stations that means a crew from another station further away would have to respond.

“It’s a public safety concern because now there's a delay in putting water on the fire, rigs have to come from downtown on the east side and that's a delay two to three minutes,” said Wisher.

Wisher said 20 years ago the city agreed to have 24 firefighters on shift throughout the city. However, he said that’s when they were responding to 6,000 calls a year. Now they respond to 14,500 calls a year.

“You have to expand, right,” said Wisher. “We can only stretch the rubber band so far.”

Wisher said it would take a total of 16 new people to have two people staff the ambulance during a shift and three other firefighters to run the engine or ladder. He said he understands the cost that comes with added manpower, but he said you can’t put a cost on public safety.

“We suggested applying for grants, we suggested a public safety fee for students on the campuses in the city and we feel that they're falling on deaf ears,” said Wisher.

A spokesperson from Troy City Hall released the following statement:

"Increased call volume for emergency medical services is not unique to the City of Troy. The availability of local EMS is a critically important service for Troy residents and families, and the administration is proud of the highly-trained Troy firefighters who serve our community. During the last four years, we have worked to eliminate vacancies, replace personal protective gear, and purchase new ambulances and fire engines to help the Troy Fire Department respond to emergencies across the city. These investments are made with consideration of taxpayer resources and emergency service response volume. The administration will continue to work with Fire Department leadership to determine the most effective deployment of resources to meet the needs of the department and general public."

Credits

Emily De Vito

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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