Firefighters in Toronto have taken a stance on Fire Department budget cuts with an extreme message to members of their City Council: Children will die. Maybe even yours.
This of course, is in direct response to the real threat they face (like many others) that their Fire Department’s budget may be reduced as the city of Toronto tries to cut back on spending. As the Globe and Mail article points out:
That is the message of Toronto’s firefighters, who have been waging a shameless fear campaign against the poor wretches who are trying to rein in costs at City Hall.
Those wretches are no match for Ed Kennedy, the president of the firefighters’ association, who has been posing in front of burned-out houses to make his point that people probably died because of the firefighting jobs that went unfilled last year. More cutbacks would “definitely impact the response times,” he warned. Firefighters have been showing up at City Hall in T-shirts with the slogan “Seconds Count.” They’ve also been busy polishing their halos. They recently made heartwarming news when they donated children’s toys to a family whose house (and Christmas presents) had caught fire on Christmas Day. The sobbing family thanked them on the air.
The narrative takes place north of the border, but for Stations located within the States the story of spending cuts is all too real. Fire Departments have been forced to get creative and find new ways to stay just as efficient with less money. Just last week the New Orleans Fire Department announced their plan on how they were restructuring their operations to help balance their budget. (Courtesy of WWL.com)
The NOFD announced Friday that it will change the way it operates, but is promising to offer the same level of service to citizens.
Fire Department officials say budget cuts at City Hall have forced the changes.
NOFD Assistant Superintendent Tim McConnell says the plan essentially reassigns how it uses its personnel and equipment.
“That redeployment plan will keep all fire houses open, it will keep all equipment engines that respond with water and the ability to fight fire,” McConnell told WWL-TV.
However, the NOFD says two ladder companies will close by the end of this year, on Old Gentilly Road and Arabella Street. And, several vacant positions won’t be filled.
Proving that even the country’s largest cities are feeling the crunch and not immune to the sweeping trend of cutting emergency services budgets. While the message from Toronto is extreme (and unnecessary according to the latter part of Globe and Mail article), it paints the picture of just how important it is to have an adequately staffed and funded Fire Department.