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      In a news conference today, Mayor Beutler identified important issues and goals that will be addressed over the next year.  Of those, he designated improving response times for Lincoln Fire & Rescue as the most urgent public safety need.  He further recognized the need for additional firefighters, an outdated apparatus fleet, and a continued increase in call volume.

      Response times are critical to the safety of both citizens and the firefighters themselves.  Most people are aware that medical emergencies result in decreased patient outcomes and even fatalities when there are delayed response times.  Many are also aware of the obvious fact that a fire will grow larger during longer response times.  It may not occur to everyone however, that fire propagates exponentially and that a fire can double in size every minute.  This results in a less survivable environment for victims who remain inside.  For firefighters, it means they will face an intensified fire inside of a building that has become unstable due to structural components being exposed to higher temperatures for longer periods.  Modern building construction methods further exacerbate the problem as dimensional lumber has been replaced with engineered wood products made from wood chips and adhesives that fail in a shorter time and can result in a collapse that traps and kills firefighters.  Regardless of the type of incident, moderate emergencies can become critical and critical emergencies have increasingly unfavorable consequences when there are delayed response times.

      The need for additional firefighters is of paramount concern yet is an issue that many are unfamiliar with.  Lincoln has not added an additional staffed fire engine since 1996 when Fire Station 14 opened in the Highlands.  A ladder truck has not been added since the 1950's.  Since 1996, Lincoln has grown in population by roughly the entire city of Grand Island, which has 4 stations to serve that number of citizens.  Lincoln Fire & Rescue faces a 3-fold issue with growth.  For nearly 20 years, there have been the same number of fire apparatus, but they are tasked with serving an increased area by square miles, an increased population base, and an increase in the rate of use of fire and EMS services by today's society.

      An understaffed department limits the ability to provide adequate fire and EMS services to the citizens on each call.  On a daily basis, LFR struggles to staff apparatus with sufficient personnel.  While national standards determine a crew of 4 to be the minimum number to safely staff a fire engine or truck, Lincoln often has less than half of the crews operating with 4 people.  Assuming Lincoln maintains a steady population growth of 1.5%, would require the authorization of roughly 5 additional firefighter positions each year just to maintain the understaffed status currently in place.  Bringing staffing levels up to improve the safety of the citizens and the firefighters will require the support of both the public and their elected representatives.

      Equipping Lincoln firefighters with reliable apparatus and tools is a necessity for them to ensure the safety of the citizens.  The current apparatus fleet has reached a critical state and warrants immediate action.  The Mayor mentioned that Lincoln's fire engines and trucks have not been routinely replaced for the last 14 years with 8 out of 18 apparatus being greater than 15 years old.  This has resulted in an entire fleet that is dilapidated and suffers from extreme maintenance costs and down time as well as repeated reliability issues during emergency response.  Several units have had repair costs greater than the initial purchase price of the vehicle and 16 out of 18 of the front-line units rate as "needing immediate replacement"  through a standard fleet vehicle evaluation.  The current apparatus lack safety features that are mandated in the personal vehicles we drive to work every day to protect both passengers and other motorists.  Replacing outdated apparatus will provide emergency vehicles that are safe, reliable and have significantly reduced maintenance costs in addition to manufacturer warranties.

      The Lincoln Firefighters Association supports  the City of Lincoln's and Mayor Beutler's efforts to address these public safety concerns.  These are keys steps in ensuring that all residents of Lincoln receive the same high quality fire and EMS services.

      Ron Trouba, President

      Lincoln Firefighters Association Local 644



      Lincoln Firefighters
      IAFF Local 644

      Providing the gift of warmth to children in the communities they protect, Lincoln Firefighters have become ambassadors of Operation Warm.

      Through this invaluable partnership, Lincoln Firefighters are revolutionizing the expansion of our important mission and impacting the lives of children throughout their community.

      Help us provide new winter coats to children in need.
      Support jobs in the USA.

      http://blog.californiarighttocarry.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/donate-300x298.png

      Lincoln Firefighters
      IAFF Local 644

      Providing the gift of warmth to children in the communities they protect, Lincoln Firefighters have become ambassadors of Operation Warm.

      Through this invaluable partnership, Lincoln Firefighters are revolutionizing the expansion of our important mission and impacting the lives of children throughout their community.

      Help us provide new winter coats to children in need.
      Support jobs in the USA.

      http://blog.californiarighttocarry.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/donate-300x298.png



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