Firefighters protest cuts to overnight staff

    Philadelphia’s firefighters are protesting planned cuts to a class of overnight personnel.

    Philadelphia’s firefighters are protesting planned cuts to a class of overnight personnel. The cuts were part of Mayor Michael Nutter’s original effort to balance the budget and are scheduled to be implemented by the end of this week. The firefighters union says the cuts will threaten safety.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090811spfire.mp3]

    The majority of the Fire Departments’ Battalion Chiefs signed a letter to Mayor Nutter asking him to reconsider eliminating their aides during the overnight shift.

    Tom McKiernan is a Battalion Chief Aide at Battalion One station in South Philadelphia.

    McKeirnan: What happens is when we respond to a fire, the chief has to size up the situation before we’re even in route. His mind is on the fire ground, my mind is on driving and getting us there safe. Once we’re at the fire ground, the chief gives initial orders to incoming companies. My job is to get to those incoming companies and let them know where to go specifically on a fire.

    But Everett Gillison, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, says cuts are necessary and the loss of overnight Battalion Chief Aides will not impact safety. Gillison says firefighters with the third truck on the scene will perform the aide’s functions.

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