by Molly Reed
Thursday, December 31st 2020
DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) – The local Dayton firefighter union and city leaders are at odds over keeping the station that covers the Carillon and Edgemont neighborhoods covered full-time. Dayton Fire Station 10 has been the station the city “browns out” when short-staffed since 2017. When the pandemic began this year, though, the city and local fire union made an agreement to keep at least two EMS employees there.
That agreement ended January 1. “It affects times. Times are critical if someone has a trauma or someone gets shot or stabbed or there’s a cardiac emergency. That’s what it affects,” said Kraig Robinson, president of Dayton Fire Fighters Local 136. Robinson said Station 10 has been busy this year with medic calls but Dayton Fire Chief Jeff Lykins said overall call volumes have been down during most of the pandemic and said it won’t significantly affect their response time.
“That upstaffing was due really to the unknowns, what kind of call volume are we going to have as a result of COVID,” said Lykins.
Robinson is asking city leaders to reconsider funding the two employees for Station 10 until the city has a chance to apply for the federal SAFER grant. “We opted out of a SAFER grant from last year and they band-aided it until tomorrow morning,” he said.
The city will apply for the grant in 2021. It allows the department to maintain or add extra staffing. “They give out just under 300 total awards nationally,” said Lykins.
The chief said the city didn’t apply in 2020 because the grant requires the city to give funding, too. He said that wasn’t’ fair to ask for while other departments were making cuts. The amount the city has to pay depends on how much the grant is for and the federal government’s application rules for that year, which they don’t know until it’s time to apply.
“In a normal safer grant period, the city is responsible for 25 percent of the costs of the firefighter the first year, 25 percent of the costs of the firefighter the second year, and 65 percent of the costs in the third year,” said Lykins.
Robinson said in the meantime, he thinks Station 10 will go back to being browned out more often than not. “It eliminates a transport unit that is very busy out of this station,” he says.