Politics over Public Safety
As a service we need to recognize the suburban and rural fire departments. They truly have miracle firefighters in their ranks. Once they were the pride of their communities and now see budgets being balanced on there backs. While urban firefighters suffer more injuries the risk of death is higher in the small communities. You can't bluff a fire, staffing, resources and training will dictate outcomes good or bad.
The fire service is no stranger to Mayor's placing politics above public safety. However the actions of Democratic Mayor Finizio from New London are especially egregious.
New London is already a city with miracle firefighters. A fire in the city calls for a response of eleven firefighters with a total of eighteen on duty. Take the same structure in New Haven on fire and the initial response is over 24 firefighters.
Fires cannot be fought incrementally, all of our critical tasks must occur in unison to ensure the ability to control the building while increasing firefighter and public safety. When a fire occur it does not happen in a vacuum. The department must still be able to respond to medical emergencies, car accidents and other calls for help.
The fire department responded to approximately 7,000 calls for help last year. These are not empty numbers but represent your friends, family and neighbors.
New London is fifth in CT in population density. This presents challenges of fires spreading to the home next-door.
The fire department stands as the most efficient and effective municipal service. Think about it; call any city agency and who is the first to show up? The Fire Department, they get there quick to help and with no paperwork.
Whether you are having a heart attack, your loved one is involved in a car accident or your home or business is on fire New London Firefighters get there first.
All communities our cutting back and this is no different from your home. When times cut tough you cut back on going out to dinner, trips and recreation. You don't cut off the heat or electricity! So why cut fire service? The President at Yale has a sign in his office that reads, "if it doesn't make sense the answer is political."
Mayor Finizio is playing politics with an understaffed department. This is far from sound public policy. Firefighters across the nation have made concessions to ensure the fire truck that responds to your home is in service.
New London is no different. Firefighters work overtime for straight-time pay up to the federal maximum saving the city thousands of dollars each year. Layoffs will nullify these savings.
The City of New London was forged in the fires of the Revolution. Set a blaze and burned to the ground by turncoat General Benedict Arnold. Once again the city is placed in peril by the threat of fire and a leader who is turning his back on the people.