Troy Fire Department dealing with staffing challenge

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The Troy Fire Department is dealing with a staffing shortage. This is an ongoing problem that is delaying response times to calls.

Eric Wisher is the president of the Troy Uniform Firefighters Association Local 86. That is the firefighter union. He says they run into staffing challenges on a daily basis.

Wisher says there is a constant volume of calls all day long. He says their firefighters respond to both fire and EMS calls. Multiple times a day, all four ambulances could be at the hospital.

When this happens, Wisher says they lose nine guys who are not able to respond to fire calls. Wisher says they have 24 firefighters a day, but he would like to see them staff 28.

Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello says the city takes this issue seriously. Mantello says the city has set aside funding to hire a firm to conduct a study to see whether or not they need to change their ambulance model going forward.

“Fires today are burning a lot hotter, a lot quicker because of the equipment used in construction. So a lot of times, the fire has a head start, a pretty good head start before we get there – and, if we show up understaffed, it makes for a difficult time,” said Wisher. 

“We need to ensure that that model that was developed back in 1990 is still good today,” said Mantello.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden sent NewsChannel 13 this statement.

“I hear from businesses often about how the pandemic has impacted their ability to recruit and retain employees. The city of Troy is no different than many communities across the region who are struggling to attract individuals to take the firefighter civil service exam, an issue facing the entire healthcare system.

“I applaud Troy’s fire professionals that serve the needs of our residents and keep our neighborhoods safe. To support them, this administration made record investments in the Troy Fire Department, including the purchase of new turnout gear, new fire engines and the planned replacement of the Lansingburgh station. We will continue to work with our fire chiefs and command staff to meet staffing needs in the department.”

According to Mantello, she says she is waiting for the mayor to submit the request for proposal, which will allow them to go ahead and a hire a firm to conduct the study.