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Alameda Firefighters Laid-off, Fire Station Closed

Press Release From Alameda Firefighters
15 MAY 2009
Contact: Domenick Weaver, President

Today, two firefighters were laid off and three others were demoted from the City of Alameda Fire Department, and Fire Station 5 was permanently closed.

This comes as the result of further reductions to Fire and Emergency Services in a cost saving measure that was implemented by Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant. These layoffs will be the result of a 20% decrease in staffing allocations since last year. Overall, 19 positions have been eliminated and due to the decreased level of service, so will some filled positions. All of these cuts have been made under the umbrella of the City Budget, and the community has not had the chance to comment directly on their service levels for Fire and EMS.

Ms. Gallant has turned a blind eye to historical data and recommendations from three reports from consultants that date back to 1988, including a report completed by the former State Fire Marshal in 2004. Instead, she bases her decisions on a radical and unsubstantiated report from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), who by their own admission has done only one other consulting report on Fire Services in the State of California.

Effective June 1, 2009 Fire Station 5 (Alameda Point) will be closed. Minimum staffing will fall below 24 firefighters on duty a day, without a clear answer of how much below. In addition to the Fire Station closure, additional units will likely be “browned out”, or closed in a proposal similar to the original “Brownouts” that were implemented on January 26, 2009. Now, with one less Fire Engine, another Ambulance or Fire Truck may be closed on a day to day basis.

10 percent of responses since “Brownouts” were implemented have received delayed responses. Included in those calls were a cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, traumatic injuries, broken pipes, fire sprinkler activations, and fire calls, (including the FISC fire). All of which could have received a more positive outcome had care and response been delivered sooner.

Yesterday, the firefighters and proponents of their Fire and Emergency Medical Services Minimum Protection initiative turned in over 9000 signatures to qualify the measure to be presented to the voters. The City Clerk has turned the signatures over to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for validation.

The firefighters have offered solutions, concessions and wage freezes in an effort to stave off the layoffs and reductions in service. Some that add up to nearly a million dollars of savings. The City has communicated that they are not interested in pursuing those at this time.

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