2/15/2011

Fire Task Force

Posted by MJ

The LUSJ reported that 4-th Ward Alderman Chapman has chosen the panel for his fire task force:

Eight city residents have been named to a task force being formed by 4th Ward Alderman Andrew Chapman to study possible alternatives to a full-time, paid, professional fire department...
...The task force’s first meeting will be held Feb. 17 at City Hall. Chapman said he hopes to be able to arrange twice-monthly meetings on Thursday nights for up to five months or so...

...The task force’s mission, as he envisioned it, is to asses the long-term costs of a paid-professional fire department and alternative service models. The volunteers will look at the pros and cons, costs and benefits of status-quo firefighting operations versus alternatives in place around New York state, including “hybrid” and all-volunteer operations, and present its findings to the Common Council later this year....
This information gathering task is worthwhile as it will hopefully give us some firm data on which we can discuss the issue. I value the full time paid force though I believe it could most likey be done with less man power depending on the number of calls that are currently recieved. This was discussed here during the budget process last fall

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I see he has choosen his pannel, so if he picked who was going to be on the pannel couldn't he stack the deck? Is the mayor going to listen to the findings, he already stated in the Buffalo News that the topic was looked into 2years ago and it was decided to keep a paid dept.. Are we spinning the wheels here?

Anonymous said...

This has been all over some social sites, Food for thought: On average, homeowners pay $1.36 a day to fund a full time fire department including salaries and benefits. If you have a smart phone you pay on average $3.33 a day for your phone. That phone won't save your life, perform CPR, protect your property, trap a raccoon in your back yard, etc. Copy and paste this into your status if you think this is an acceptable amount to pay for fire services.

Anonymous said...

We need to wake up, this city is not big enough and doesn't have the industrial base anymore to support a full time fire dept.
The only question I see is that we do need fulltime emt's due to our population base (probably they should be based at urgan towers-lol)- should we offer the service or put it out to bid and make money off Rural metro providing it?

Rocketboy said...

Ya.. there's just a plant that is one of the few left in the world that make Mustard Gas for industrial use... Yep.. who needs professionals when dealing with one of the most dangerous non-radioactive industrial chemicals?

Anonymous said...

2:38 pm Maybe you will be the first volunteer into that chemical plant, or better yet the next fire call at 77 Main at 2am. What makes any one think there would enough volunteers to do this kind of work?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the US&J would use the phrase "chosen his panel". I would suggest that before you accuse him of "stacking the deck", you should stop by City Hall and see who is on the panel this Thursday evening at 6:30pm. You might be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we def should pay $4,000,000 plus pension costs a year for the fire dept just in case there's a fire at an inconvenient hour or at Vandemark!

Anonymous said...

The only thing that scares me is right now we the citizens of the City are protected by the Taylor Law, if we go to a vol. fire dept. there is no duty to act, which means if you call 911 and nobody shows up from the Vol. Fire Dept. then the next Vol. Fire Dept. gets called that could be delay of 12-15min before the 2ed call out, and if you don't think it happens buy a scanner and listen to the Vol. Fire Depts. that surround the City. Not to mention when/if they do show up how qualified are they? I know a paid firefighter gets like 250hrs of training and a vol. can get as little as 24hrs? SCARY

Anonymous said...

If everyone is so worried about money, but want a paid service, and there seems to be a problem with the services outside the City of Lockport. Then why not expand the services outside the City and charge the Town for fire protection and the residents for EMS services. Now you save jobs reduce the impact or even make money for the City and the Town residents get better Fire and EMS protection. Win Win Win I happen to know some volunteers and they aren't happy with the current ALS provider or their response times. That is when they're aviable.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we def should pay $4,000,000 plus pension costs a year for the fire dept just in case there's a fire at an inconvenient hour or at Vandemark!

i read the article, where was this information.

Anonymous said...

Not to cause panic here, but i was already informed quite a while ago from various sources that should there ever happen to be a problem at Vandemark ever, the Fire Dept couldn't do anything anyhow.

Anonymous said...

not to cause panic...what couldnt the fire dept. do and what source would say this.so say if it was on fire they couldnt put it out?or if some one let the stuff they make get out they couldnt help them.or if we need an ambulance they couldnt go? who said such a thing a disgruntled employee?

Anonymous said...

"If everyone is so worried about money, but want a paid service, and there seems to be a problem with the services outside the City of Lockport. Then why not expand the services outside the City and charge the Town for fire protection and the residents for EMS services. Now you save jobs reduce the impact or even make money for the City and the Town residents get better Fire and EMS protection. Win Win Win I happen to know some volunteers and they aren't happy with the current ALS provider or their response times. That is when they're aviable."
There isn't a problem outside the city - this is a big NO WAY! Are you crazy thinking we in the town would even think about getting involved in the mess the city has?

MJ said...

1)Some people will call Wal-mart evil for low wages etc but at the same time expect volunteers to risk their lives fighting their house fire. I find it interesting.

2) Ambulance responses are charged for but not fire responses. Why is there not a fee for responding to a fire, etc that would be paid out of homeowners/business insurance etc?

3) Industrial fires etc. are unique. Where I work the fire department visits once a year (about 30-40 firemen show up to get a quick tour of the access points and where to wait for further instructions if they are called in. They are made aware of the unique hazards. The facility itself is more experienced/trained in fighting plant emergencies/fires and fire fighters busting in with water etc would create a much more dangerous situation until the plant was shut down enough to let them in to do their task.

4)As I said above I would never expect someone to risk their life for no compensation to fight a fire at my house. The bigger question is more likely how to most efficiently use manpower.

Anonymous said...

My cousin is a nurse at ENHL and the hospital doesn't have a contract to transfer patients to nursing homes or other hospitals, why doesn't the FD do these, they already have ambulances.

The Phantom said...

If I want a volunteer Fire Department, I'll move to the town. One of the few remaining perks of paying our high city taxes is a full time fire and police department. Start taking those away, and there will be NO reason to move into the city, and no reason to stay. It was a big part of our decision to buy in the city and not in the town.

Not to knock the volunteers, but if I, or my kids need help in the middle of the night, I sleep better knowing there are people sitting there at the fire station waiting to respond and be at my house in approx 2 mins.

You will never fully appreciate something until you truly need it, or if its truly gone...

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine lives in the town and just got his yearly tax bill:

FIRE PROTECTION - $290

I thought volunteers were free???
According to the above figures an average taxpayer in the city pays about $496 a year for a paid fire department, a difference of $206. If my friend lived in the city and they had volunteers instead of a paid department he would save an extra 56 cents a day! Also adding to that cost of these “free” services is the recruitment and retention incentives for volunteers. Volunteers also enjoy a length of service pension funded by the taxpayers. Factor in your ISO insurance rating to this cost. Businesses in the town pay a much higher premium for insurance than City businesses.

http://www.iso.com/Research-and-Analyses/Studies-and-Whitepapers/ISO-s-PPC-Program.html

Have a heart attack in the town you will wait an average of 9+ minutes, at best, for a volunteer to arrive, and usually that is in a pickup truck, you will then wait another 5+ minutes for the ambulance to arrive with basic EMT’s that do not carry drugs. They in turn call Rural Metro Ambulance that have paramedics, but by then you are dead or close. If you live in the city you will wait an average of 3 minutes for paramedics to arrive. I know, this will never happen to you, it only happens to other people. 3000+ city residents called 911 last year.

Big fire in the town yesterday, made the t.v. news and the papers, the house was destroyed. The city had a fire on Niagara St. last week. You did not hear about it? I guess it was not newsworthy; the house had minimal damage because of the less than 3 minute response time. You will never hear about the numerous house fires that are put out quickly every year and keeps the houses on the tax rolls. You will hear about the towns though, because more often than not the house is totaled. These are all facts I have presented. What are your facts? Before you start with the standard “Delphi is shrinking” response, Delphi contributes 3% to the City of Lockport’s tax revenue.

Give me real facts and figures what the taxpayer will save and lose.

Anonymous said...

You will not get intelligent responses. The people who are against the city fire department dislike them for personal reasons. All you are going to get is “we don’t need a Cadillac service” or “Lockport is shrinking”. You will not get facts to back up their arguments. Keep up the good work by providing us with the unbiased facts.

The Phantom said...

Great post Anon above. Glad I am not the only one with similar thinking...

Jack Smith said...

I'm not against the City Fire Department. I too, believe that they provide excellent service and should be commended. However, please correctly state the facts. I'm almost positive that the City and the Town both share the same ISO rating. As far as EMT reponse, there is no doubt that the City Firefighters do it better. In fact, I think that if the Town were smart, they would contract with the City for this service. The fact remains, however, that the City must investigate all the services that it provides to determine how to best sustain them for the future. Here are the members of the Fire Department Task Force- Mark Devine, John Lombardi, Richard Nicholson, Joe O'Shaughnessy, Kevin Pratt, Diane Touhey, and Mike Ulrich.

The Phantom said...

How about studying how to address the 840,528,134 million gallons of water lost through the leaking pipes in Lockport every year. This amounts to 46% of the water produced through the filtration plant every year. This problem will NOT go away if ignored. But we will continue to pay.

My point is, leave the fire dept alone. Stop trying to fix what is not broken. Try to fix that which is...

MJ said...

Do have a link to that water data? I recall an article from a year or so that said over the past ~6 yrs it's been reduced to 10-15%

Unfunded aging water infrastructure is a nation wide problem.

The Phantom said...

Here is the link. It is the 2009 Water Report. I don't think 2010 is out yet, but I doubt the numbers have gone down...

http://www.elockport.com/PDFs/2010/AnnualDrinkingWaterQualityReport2009.pdf

Anonymous said...

Jack you may be right saying that the iso rating is the same because the zip code 14094 may be used. So what that means is the town residents are paying less and thinking they have a good service and the city residents aren't getting a fair shake. If the city rating is a 1 s.lkpt is 4 rapids is 5 the avg is 3.3.... if you go to a vol service you will lose response time and manpower points and the city could raise to 3-4 now your average is 4-5.... if you save $200 on costs and my liability rates go up $200 where is the savings..... I'd be paying the same $$$ and get an broken ineffective system... how is that helping? Well it may help with urban renewal when our houses burn down to the foundations and our neighbors homes get signifigant damage due to the close proximity of city houses. I like the idea of expansion of services offer a fire truck for fires and an ambulance in the town for a price. Not only will you keep the great system we have but you could reduce the impact the FD has on city taxpayers.

Concerned said...

As a town resident, I already am paying for fire trucks for a number of volunteer companies, so no thanks.
Any town politician that brings this up would have their hands full!

Xavier said...

Mr. Chapman asked me my opinion of the Fire Department the other night. He invited me to attend the meeting even though I'm not on the panel. I think he'd encourage anyone to come and participate - not just his panel members.
Personally, I favor a hybrid like they've used in the City of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda for years. It works and it would save us a ton of money. NT and the City of Ton. have a lot more industry than we do. The EMT's would remain on duty 24/7.
I also hear that Pat Schrader has already taken it over, which concerns me. He does know more than almost anyone everything about our fire department, but he also has ulterior motives. I don't think he'd be in favor of reducing our fire department cause it wouldnt go well when he runs for Mayor as soon as Tucker gets an easier job for more money as he's in line to get.

Xavier said...

P.S. The ISO's are the same in the City and the Town. It's based primarily on how close you are to a fire hydrant.

Anonymous said...

Xavier go to iso.com to get your facts srraight, h2o is about 30% and the other 70% is equiptment,tools,staffing,response times,etc... the score is averaged by zip code.

Anonymous said...

just got through reading this page and have a question that seems to be begging to be asked (at least to me.) the city just paid to have an expert come in to tell them how to make a consolidation of other departments work. they then followed this experts advice. why are they now going forward with a group of citizens to study public saftey? you would think that it would have been the other way around. Just more backwards thinking in lockport i guess.

Xavier said...

Excellent question! Maybe "they" want to keep hiring this guy from THE law firm to go department by department, thus dragging out the process. You'd think that the first place they'd hit would be the fire department, then the police department, THEN the Streets, etc.
Nope - Tucker wanted rid of Hoffman so that's where they went first.

Anonymous said...

anon 10:23, The City of Lockport isn't going after public saftey, Mr Chapman is going after public saftey. The mayor already stated in the paper that this was looked into a few years ago and the cost savings if any didn't justify doing anything.

Anonymous said...

These "fly by night" aldermen come and go. They blame the fire dept. for the cities woes, when in reality it is their own personal and vindictive reasons for wanting to cut them. I have watched these wet noodles come and go for over 25 years.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it we just can't afford the status quo anymore. I heard the meeting went well from many people, but it's evident that some people have a personal vendetta against Mr. Chapman and no matter what he does, they'll find ways to try and discredit him. It's a pathetic city we live in!

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with paying fireman to sit on the bench outside the building or paying them to sleep till there's a call. Volunteer firemen do a great job in the town. By the way the town has just as many people as the city does today. Hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Another thing. When the city of lockport gets smaller and smaller and the town gets bigger and bigger. People get a mindset that in the city you need paid police and fire. You don't the town uses the sherrif dept.state police. They are fine with it. The town doesn't need paid fire. They are just as safe. Change with the times people

Anonymous said...

Hey phantom. Your speaking for yourself. Not the whole city. People are finally fighting back to this paid fire situation. Years back they had no say. Now they do. If it is good enough for the town. Its good enough for the city

Anonymous said...

Hey phantom. Hmmmm. One of the perks of living in the city. Hmmmmmm.. your paying for it. So u would save money or are you the type to waste your money. By the way I am sure if there would be more then one firehall in the city with volunteers. Plus too a lot of times if it is an extreme emergency they will go right to the house to help and the truck or ambulance will arrive shortly afterwords. Good enough for the 20000 plus in the town.

Anonymous said...

Hey phantom. Hmmmm. One of the perks of living in the city. Hmmmmmm.. your paying for it. So u would save money or are you the type to waste your money. By the way I am sure if there would be more then one firehall in the city with volunteers. Plus too a lot of times if it is an extreme emergency they will go right to the house to help and the truck or ambulance will arrive shortly afterwords. Good enough for the 20000 plus in the town.

Anonymous said...

Lol..I knew this would not last. Chapman will be gone next election and so will his study. NEXT!

G.I.Joe said...

Well maybe Andy will leave..that would be a loss to the city and it's residents.
But hey..how long can you expect him to try and play "chess" with "checkers players" ?? Huh?

Anonymous said...

What does that say about you when the checkers player beat you? Huh?

There is no try, there is only do or do not.

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