Our Mayor has said that a two minute increase in response times for the fire department won’t affect the citizens of this city. He says that other stations can cover the areas where he closed fire companies just as well as before. He expects you to believe that time and space have no meaning within the boundaries of our city. The laws of physics don’t apply in Philly. While he may be correct that MANY laws don’t apply in Philly, I can assure everyone the law of TRAFFIC does. He believes that traffic and distance don’t have any bearing on how long it takes firemen to reach the scene of a working house fire. Seriously.
Since companies are now forced to effectively cover TWICE or even THREE TIMES as much ground as before he closed seven companies, response times MUST increase. It’s unavoidable. We simply can’t get from point A to point B as fast as before. Never mind the fact that the firefighters and especially officers are under CONSTANT PRESSURE to lower our accident rates. If we get into an accident we are in serious trouble.
Our drivers are experts in their local. In a city like Philadelphia there are literally THOUSANDS of roads and streets. Our drivers know the in’s and outs of their respective locals, what routes they can and can’t take. Where the schools, hospitals, nursing homes or chemical plants etc. are. They know when to avoid the bus routes or areas of congestion. Now they are being forced to take calls farther out of their normal locals.
Think about it: You have forty five seconds to pick out the best route to a random address ten blocks away, at any hour of the day or night and get into a truck and drive there as quickly as possible, with lights and sirens and radios blaring without getting into an accident no matter what the weather. Think that’s easy? Make it twenty blocks. I got news for you: driving a fire truck on an emergency response in a big city is probably one of the hardest, most stressful jobs I know of. Putting the fire out is relatively easy by comparison.
We may not put out a fire every time we get a call, but we still have to make the run, and that takes it’s toll. Our run volumes constaly go up nearly a thousand a day city wide. More runs equals more stress, more fatigue. Taking companies off the line increases the run volume on other companies. Sooner or later things start to break down. That’s how you get a Deepwater Horizon. Save a hundred thousand dollars by cutting costs and cost yourself a BILLION when things go bad. Duh.
So that’s why I posted this video. Two minutes. That’s our margin of error. The Mayor says these are scare tactics. You make the call. After two minutes anyone in this room is in mortal danger. A firefighter who arrives in time can rescue a person trapped in this or an adjacent room.
That’s if we aren’t stuck in traffic two locals away.