PTC fire department understaffed

Thu, 03/08/2007 - 5:10pm
By: John Munford

City well under national staffing standards; new hires contemplated
Even if the Peachtree City Fire Department hires three additional firefighters this year as planned, the department will still be short of the minimum national staffing standards, the CIty Council was informed last weekend.

Doing so would bring this year’s total of new firefighting positions to six, but that will bring the city to 15 firefighters per shift. Assistant Fire Chief Ed Eiswerth told council the department would like to add another six firefighters in next year’s budget and then for the second time seek a federal grant to bring the department up to the national standard for staffing.

Hiring six more next year would bring the department to 17 firefighters per shift, Eiswerth said. Having 19 firefighters per shift would allow the department to have two personnel on each apparatus, he said.

The fire department uses 24-hour shifts, with firefighters working one day on followed by two days off. The firefighters are all cross-trained with paramedic or emergency medical technician certifications so they can also staff the department’s ambulances.

It costs the city about $214,000 a year to add three new firefighters to the budget including salary, equipment and the like, said City Finance Director Paul Salvatore. Councilwoman Judi-ann Rutherford noted that the three new positions for this year will come out of the matching funds council had set aside for a failed grant application for additional firefighters. She also noted that those matching funds are programmed into the budget for the next four years.

“We are so far under that national standard,” Rutherford said.

Salvatore cautioned that staff is already projecting a potential millage rate increase of .8 mills for the 2008 city budget. Rutherford replied the city might have to figure out what else it might need to cut from the budget to make room for the additional firefighters.

City Manager Bernie McMullen said the city is hindered by having a smaller fire staff.

“We have a $600,000 vehicle with one person on it,” McMullen said.

The fire department began as an all-volunteer operation many years ago but volunteer recruitment has been tough due to a variety of factors, officials have said. To help increase response of current volunteers, the city has instituted a stipend system that pays them a small amount for each call they respond to above a certain amount.

Though some volunteers initially were offended by this extra pay, it has been generally well-received since the program has been implemented, officials have said.

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Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Fri, 03/09/2007 - 5:41pm.

Oops...I mean Under Staffed and Under Paid. How shameless is this. PTC can bail out a failed business venture (Tennis Center) for a million plus dollars and then spend two plus million dollars on a spending project (Senior Center) that the city can't afford. But it refuses to provide proper police and fire protection for it's taxpayers. Not to mention the piss poor salaries they pay these dedicated servant heroes.

But PTC can help pay for the {{{{DELETED}}}} TDK bridge to Coweta County so they can clog our arteries and deplete the modest pace of life that we enjoy. Need I go on? Cut the {{{{DELETED}}}} waste already and let's protect the way of life we have and insure security and safety to the citizens of Peachtree City. Heck...they deserve it at the very least.....They're paying for it.

Thanks to all the Fire and Police personell that do their jobs in spite of these shameless circumstances. BladderQ must be proud.

You don't need to defend a Lion. You just need to let him out of his cage.
C.S. Lewis

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!
B.F. 1789

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Sat, 03/10/2007 - 8:37am.

Dittos for GR's comments...While you clowns are raising taxes for the judges, the commissioners and all this other crap, you might as well raise it for the cops.

Don’t kid yourself---- we have literally tens of millions of dollars for all kinds of nonsense----- bridges to nowhere, reservoirs to help the poor developers in Coweta county, private sewer systems, private tennis centers, pub crawl ampitheatres, money to the charities, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc….But the teachers still send out emails begging for parents to contribute pencils and gluesticks. And we don’t have enough cops and we don’t pay them enough.

Open the floodgates and raise taxes, if that is the only way to have good public safefty. Need to give your judge and commissioner buddies a raise ? OK, fine. But pay the cops.

Little story. In my hometown growing up, I respected the local cops, just because I knew that we might get caught messing up. When I was younger I looked up to a couple of older guys who became town cops. One was Bo. We thought he was cool. On Halloween, he rigged up his parents house and bushes with lights and noises and speakers and scared the crap out of us. Bo was a good role model. Bo became a cop in our town? Why ? And our cops had a region wide reputation for being good. (And still do). Why? Here is the punch line------ they were the HIGHEST PAID DEPARTMENT IN THE STATE. Pay the cops, hire more cops and deputies…While you are raising the taxes to pay for all these other handouts, raise the taxes for the cops.

P.S. I lived 34 years there, 6 years elsewhere and 16 years here. I never knew what a burglary was until I moved here. Pay the cops and deputies.

Submitted by skyspy on Fri, 03/09/2007 - 8:12am.

Upscale city??? Huh, being short of firefighters and police officers usually isn't what you would expect from an "upscale"??? city. Cities like Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs, don't have these problems. Do they have these problems in Beverly Hills, West Palm, Martha's Vineyard, Scottsdale Hilton Head, the Hamptons???? I doubt it. But then they have real money there.

For people who brag non-stop about how much money you have, we definitly have too many money problems with our city budget.(If you have to talk about money, and brag about it non-stop, you don't have any)

As long as only the current city councilfools homes are on fire, I'm good with being short.

When it comes to my home, one firefighter per truck ain't going to get it.
Let's write the councilfools, and make sure that they know most of us want to at least meet the minimum national standards for gosh sake. Except on the days when their homes are on fire,.....we can work short then.

Riverdale is having the same problem, no money to staff with the right number of people. At least we havn't fallen below them......... yet.

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