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Home Police & Fire Rye Fire Department Rye FD Citizen Letter: Lives at "Unnecessary Risk"

Rye FD Citizen Letter: Lives at “Unnecessary Risk”

RFD staffed failure

Rye FD once again is telling Rye citizens it is "staffed for failure" in the context of the 2017 city budget discussions.

The letter says it is intended to "inform the citizens of Rye that their lives are being placed at unnecessary risk" and they are asking at a minimum for funding "to add four additional firefighters, increasing the number of trained firefighters on each shift by one. This will bring our minimal response up from three trained firefighters to four. Most importantly, it will allow firefighters to legally enter a building and start performing necessary tasks."

Read the letter:

RFD downtown

An Open Letter to the Citizens of the City of Rye:

The City of Rye Fire Department is dangerously understaffed, lacking a sufficient amount of trained personnel to effectively respond to emergencies. On November 9th, the Rye City Manager presented the 2017 Budget to the City Council and did not address the necessary staffing issue at the Fire Department. It has been two years since our former City Manager, with over 30 years of experience, labeled the Rye Fire Department as being “STAFFED FOR FAILURE.” Since then the City has delayed its response to this issue and as it looks, will again delay it in 2017.

The purpose of this letter is to inform the citizens of Rye that their lives are being placed at unnecessary risk. We are aware that there is no easy solution to all of the Fire Department issues. However, staffing is a large piece of this puzzle which past strategies, from both City Hall and the Fire Department, have attempted to amend but have failed. The Mayor’s Fire Department Advisory committee met with a number of Fire Department personnel, from both the Career and Volunteer sides, and an overwhelming theme was lack of staffing. Recruitment strategies have repeatedly failed. Mutual aid assistance from neighboring communities does not help with our initial response and should not be relied on as an alternative to adequate staffing. Our manpower issue can no longer be ignored.

As it stands today, the citizens of Rye are guaranteed just three trained firefighters respond to an emergency call. The response may appear larger, because we currently send three vehicles to most calls. However, each of those three vehicles, a ladder truck and two engines, are staffed with only ONE trained firefighter. The industry standard calls for 15 trained firefighters to respond to an emergency, and four to be on scene to legally enter a building and mediate life and health hazards. The Rye Professional Firefighters have supported the repeated request by the Volunteer Chiefs, the Volunteer Board of Fire Wardens, and our former City Manager, to add four additional firefighters, increasing the number of trained firefighters on each shift by one. This will bring our minimal response up from three trained firefighters to four. Most importantly, it will allow firefighters to legally enter a building and start performing necessary tasks.

Our number one concern is life safety, both yours and ours. Our current situation of one firefighter per apparatus and three total responding puts everyone involved at great risk. “Staffed for Failure” should not be taken lightly, especially in emergency services. When we fail, people get hurt and lives are lost. We ask that the Rye City Council and City Manager take the actions necessary for the lives of its citizens and firefighters: provide appropriate fire protection.

Respectfully,

Rye Professional Firefighters Local 2029

Please visit www.LOCAL2029.com or www.RyeFirefighters.com for more information on industry standards, OSHA and PESH guidelines of operating safely on a fire scene, and Rye Fire Department’s #StaffedForFailure situation dating back to 2014.

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