Lack of firefighter test means more overtime until next summer in Philadelphia

Philadelphia will be looking at a firefighter shortage at least until next summer. 

Philadelphia is working on a new firefighter test because its old one doesn’t comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling out of Connecticut. Without new firefighters joining, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the department is using overtime to fill the gaps. He said he is not overworking firefighters.

“We allow the firefighters to work 24 hours straight. After 24 hours they get off,” said Ayers. “If there were overtime available for a firefighter that firefighter would not be able to make the overtime.”

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell said she is still worried that a few fire houses are closed each shift–a practice referred to as rolling brownouts.

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“We remain concerned about the brownouts, and this will always be an issue,” she said.

Commissioner Ayers says he doesn’t expect to hire any new firefighters until next summer at the earliest.

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