- Apr 1, 2007
Well said, Bill.Thank you Chief and I TOTALLY AGREE with your FIRST Sentence.
"When you fail to remember history you will repeat it".
That is so true. As I remember, when that 1975 budget crisis hit NYC the FDNY laid off 300 firefighters. Some were given other jobs like bus drivers etc if they were lucky. They also closed 50 Fire Companies during the busiest time for fire activity ever.
I remember thinking that if they can do that in NYC they certainly could do that in other cities. And that's exactly what followed. Other cities closed firehouses and fire companies. My father was on the job in Bridgeport, Ct and my brother was hoping to get on the job there. On a much smaller scale, Bridgeport went from 15 Engine Cos and 5 Ladders to 10 Engine Cos and 4 Ladders. They kept the only Rescue Co they had.
Bridgeport also laid off 20 firefighters as well. It was also a time when similar to the FDNY War Years, Bridgeport's fire activity was just starting to increase.
I remember my father, who grew up in the Great Depression saying that "even during that time, they never closed any fire companies and laid off firefighters".
I had also taken on a job as a firefighter myself. I was the latest hired and would be the first fired. As a young guy, I had just bought my first home and was planning on getting married in a few months. I just happened to hit it the right time though because some guys were getting ready to retire. As a result I never got laid off.
If the FDNY does close companies I would guess that other cities will follow.
Whether it's the FDNY, Bridgeport, or here in small town Norwich, Ct, cities need to focus on what the highest priorities are. The funding of our police, firefighters, ems, teachers, public works, sanitation, etc need to be placed at the TOP of the List.
The next chapter of this crisis, the Citizen's Budget Commison's proposal. FYI, "ambulance flexible staffing" would be a medic with a EMT, not the current two medics or two EMTs.