Today the mouthpiece of the Nutter administration, The Philadelphia Inquirer, published a defamatory story about Local 22’s publicity campaign to make the citizens aware of the hazards of the station closings and the brownouts.The article written by an Inquirer staff writer.(which is a rare breed these days with this rag running AP rehash stories all week) named Troy Graham. Graham obviously is a dyed-in-the-wool fiscal conservative and clearly anti-union. Which would strike me as odd since the Inquirer writers are unionized. Actually I should not pick on Graham he is just blindly believing what he is told by Lloyd and McDonald. If you care to read what Troy wrote you can find it here. One is left to wonder if this reporter did any real fact checking, because if you put the facts within the story in a different order you will see the city had to brown out companies to hide the fact that they stopped hiring firefighters and let the DROP program cause massive attrition.
Here is a paragraph from later in the article.
The department is projected to absorb $4 million in overtime costs this fiscal year, but that’s because of low manpower, Ayers said. An academy class of 60 to 80 firefighters is being assembled.
Really? 4 million in overtime in a department that is 7 companies smaller since Nutter took office? Let’s not forget the Mayor said in 2006 that closing fire companies was misguided. What they did not tell Troy Graham or the people of this city is that the overtime is generated by too few firefighters. Well actually Lloyd said it, but it was in passing and he is being misleading about the brownouts and what they achieved.
Why do I say he is not being forthcoming? Look at this comment.
The city says brownouts have been used for years when firefighters and equipment go out of service for training. They were backed up with firefighters earning overtime.
The difference with Nutter’s policy is that firefighters from browned-out stations are used to fill vacancies around the city, working regular time.
This folks is pure fiction. I retired in 2005 and the rule was companies out of service for training could not exceed a specific number and there was no back fill or reserve companies used to fill the void. They were never called brownouts. Never heard the word until the Nutter Administration came along. With the 7 closings and 3 brownouts a day that number is exceeded already. As far as the vacancies, once again we need to make it clear that they were created by the city allowing an attrition of personnel. This was a calculated move to reduce the cost of benefits to this city service. They let the overtime grow. Only to use it as a club to say the firefighters are greedy.
They insist this is a safe thing to do. Lloyd constantly repeats it.
The city has saved $3.8 million under the policy, said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers, without jeopardizing the public.
“We stand on that,” he said. “We have the information. We’re monitoring that every day.”
This might be a bit of horn tooting on Ayers part. Fire deaths are down but it is not the first time and let’s not forget the population is down too. If anything is saving the public it is those men and women in the firehouses that are left in the city busting their butts and sacrificing their bodies to make sure the people of Philadelphia can live for another day. Here are the numbers
TEN YEAR FIRE DEATH RECORD
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
51 45 32 44 45 52 52 47 39 30
Fires resulted in injuries to 315 citizens. Of these injuries, (296) occurred in accidental
fires and (19) injuries occurred as a result of incendiary/arson fires
Odd that there is a similar dip back between 2000 and 2002. Maybe it is not Lloyd Ayers brilliant leadership and visionary plan. Wait, what maybe? It is not! Because he doesn’t do either. It appears to be a combination of luck, skill and the dedication of the field forces in the department. While bragging about his decrease in fire deaths is seems that Lloyd fails to mention this little nugget The civilian injury rate.. Take a look
TEN YEAR INJURY RECORD
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
251 212 242 247 193 239 159 165 271 315
* This from the 2009 report by the PFD. Next post we will look at the 2009 vs the 2011 report. Very interesting!
Is it me or did the injury rate to civilians go up since 2007? Maybe these are just not important numbers since these folks were lucky enough to not die or pulled from the grips of death by a firefighter. Look at the death rates they have dropped and risen before. So have the injury rates. But wow never have so many been injured in one year as they had in 2009. When did they close firehouses? 2007? That big spike can’t be a coincidence. It is, as I said, luck and the dedication of the field forces that lower the death rate in the city.
Get this information out to the people of the city. Oh and for 2010 and 2011 the death rate went up to 33 and 32 respectively. What Lloyd Ayers does not say is more important than what he does. He won’t tell the people they are at risk.