“… however, it will not put the crews back at full staff… instead it will leave each engine with three or four people…”
WCPO 10/8/04 5:49:36 PM
The Cincinnati fire chief and city leaders say all their engines will be back in service sunday. Two weeks ago city officials made the decision to institute “brownouts” which would take some crews and their trucks out of service on a temporary basis as an effort to cut costs.
Now fire officials say they’ve figured out how to make ends meet.
Fire Chief Robert Wright made the announcement on Friday. Although city officials say the new plan is only a temporary fix, at least it puts all of the engines back in service. However, it will not put the crews back at full staff. Instead it will leave each engine with three or four people. That’s below the city’s standard which is four per engine, but city officials say it will be a safer situation than the current one because more trucks will be available in case of an emergency. While they eventually want to be back at full staff, they say it’s not yet possible financially. They say what’s making this happen now is that the city is taking $125,000 it just received to cover a Tall Stacks debt and handing it over to the city’s fire department. “This is a preferred approach,” said city manger Valerie Lemmie, “it is not the ultimate solution.” “It is just a preferred approach for the balance of the fiscal years as we work on the budget for 2005-2006,” said Lemmie. “Those are the areas we’re going to look at to find the longer term solutions,” Lemmie said. Leaders of the firefighters union say they are happy the brownouts have ended. They say they’ll work with the fire chief and city leaders on how they can bring everyone back to full service next year.