Crosscut: The Seattle Fire Department is understaffed. Why?
By David Kroman
While the Seattle Fire Department may have escaped the pressures that federally mandated reform has brought to city police, newly confirmed Fire Chief Harold Scoggins will be faced with a number of pressing questions. The biggest one: What should he do about the department's 83 vacancies as Seattle grows and its economy improves?
With a fraction of the attention - and, arguably, expectations - heaped on the appointment of Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, the Seattle City Council confirmed Scoggins Monday.
Scoggins has enjoyed a long career as a firefighter, most recently as the chief of the Glendale Fire Department outside of Los Angeles. At just under 200,000, Glendale is less than a third the population of Seattle. In the region's dry and hilly climate, Glendale faces the constant threat of brush and mountain fires. But what Seattle lacks in brush fires, it makes up for in growth. "More people are going to mean more responses," Scoggins told Crosscut. "The rising call load is pretty significant."
In 2010, the Seattle Fire Department received about 77,000 calls. In 2014, that number was up nearly 15 percent to 89,000. That increase is due in part to Seattle's rising population, but also, says Scoggins, to Seattle's aging and more accident-prone demographic.
But during that same five-year span, the fire department's workforce got slammed with a perfect storm of retirements and budget cuts, and now Scoggins will have to work to match his department's capacity to the city's need.
At this year's FDIC International, Eric Straus of Chicago Fire Wire (chicagofirewire.com) captured drone footage from some of the hands-on training sites, including "Live Fire: First Due" in Boone County.
Legislation to Renew Zadroga Act Introduced in Congress
After nearly a decade long fight to stand by first responders who answered the call of duty on September 11, Congress finally fulfilled its moral obligation in late 2010 and provided our 9/11 heroes with the health care and financial compensation they deserved by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.
LODD Fire Fighter David E. Amituanai, April 15, 2015
It is with deepest regret and sorrow to report the line-of-duty death of Fire Fighter David E. Amituanai of IAFF Local 798 - San Francisco, California. Brother Amituanai, 58, passed away on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 from cancer. The Visitation will be held on Friday, April 24, 2015 from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. at St. Robert's Catholic Church, 1380 Crystal Springs Road, San Bruno, California 94066, (650) 589-2800. The Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. also at St. Robert's Catholic Church. Expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family or the local can be sent to IAFF Local 798, 1139 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1514 or emailed to email@example.com.
LODD Driver/Engineer Aaron S. Hughes, April 16, 2015
It is with deepest regret and sorrow to report the line-of-duty death of Driver/Engineer Aaron S. Hughes of IAFF Local 4405 - Midland, Texas. Brother Hughes, 31, passed away on Thursday, April 16, 2015 from esophageal cancer. A Memorial Service will be on Monday, April 20, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at Cross Bar Cowboy Church, 185 SE 1000, Andrews, Texas 79714, (432) 524-2005. Expressions of sympathy or condolences for the family or the local can be sent to IAFF Local 4405, 602 N. Baird Street, Suite 207, Midland, TX 79701-4767 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers' Day of May Day. For many others there is an assumption that it is a holiday celebrated in state communist countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don't realize that May Day has its origins here in this country and is as "American" as baseball and apple pie, and stemmed from the pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, a celebration of rebirth and fertility.
At its national convention in Chicago, held in 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions (which later became the American Federation of Labor), proclaimed that "eight hours shall constitute a legal day's labor from and after May 1, 1886." The following year, the FOTLU, backed by many Knights of Labor locals, reiterated their proclamation stating that it would be supported by strikes and demonstrations.
On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the United States walked off their jobs in the first May Day celebration in history. In Chicago, the epicenter for the 8-hour day agitators, 40,000 went out on strike.
May Day is an official holiday in 66 countries and unofficially celebrated in many more, but rarely is it recognized in this country where it began.
Brothers and Sisters, Local 27 is fully engaged in the political process to protect and support you, your family, and public safety. Our American democratic process relies on citizens and organizations for elections and for governance. Local 27 informs and supports candidates and elected officials on all issues related to fire fighters and public safety including: health and safety, training, equipment, department policies, compensation, benefits, retirement, staffing, response times, service levels, hazards, etc. Local 27, the WSCFF, and the IAFF rely on your voluntary financial contributions to fund these efforts. Many members already do their part and contribute, but many still do not. If you have not yet signed up for the Local 27 SAFEPAC or the WSCFF Fastpac, or the IAFF Firepac, please follow the link below to get started now. Thank you.
Kenny Stuart President Seattle Fire Fighters Union IAFF Local 27