Mayor Lovely Warren met with members of the Fingerlakes Regional Burn Association on Thursday, who are calling for an end to the practice they say poses just too many risks.
The rotating firehouse shut-downs, or “brown-outs” that are a part of the city’s new “dynamic staffing” are continuing to draw controversy.
Katie Ogg is a mother and house fire survivor. She and her children were caught in a house fire a few years ago, and just barely made it out alive.
Ogg attended the meeting in an attempt to appeal to Warren as a mother. “We were told seconds is what we had left. Had they come thirty seconds later, we would not be alive. So any kind of stretch in response time is unacceptable. It just is.”
Ogg believes that seconds matter in fire situations, and that dynamic staffing can add to response times. Scott Miller, a local retired firefighter, agrees with her.
“Every second counts,” says Miller. “In about 30 seconds a fire will double in size. So quickly, you know, we lose time quick.”
Ogg and Miller say their meeting with the Mayor went well. Their goal of sharing their stories? To show Mayor Warren how dangerous dynamic staffing can be.
“I know that they’re trying to minimize it,” Miller said of the city’s attempts to minimize the negative impacts of dynamic staffing. “The Chief and Mayor don’t want anyone to get hurt, I believe that in their statements
today wholeheartedly,” he says. But, Miller still thinks there are better ways for the city to save money, ways that have far less risk. “But I think it’s the wrong way, I think we should look at saving someplace else, besides shutting down the firehouse.”
Ogg says she has faith that these negotiations between the Mayor and the Firefighter’s Union will find a safe alternative to dynamic staffing. “I am confident that this won’t last,” she said. “Hopefully the fire union and the Mayor will be able to come to some sort of agreement, I am and forever will be on the firefighter’s side.”
Many firefighters, burn victims, and city residents say they will continue protesting these brown-outs. The Mayor and the Firefighter’s Union plan to continue negotiations until an agreement is arrived upon.