Playing Russian Roulette with Public Safety

Flint, Michigan just found out what it is like to play Russian Roulette with Public Safety.

Less than 48 hours after the city of Flint, Mich., laid off 22 firefighters and cut operations at two local fire stations, an alarm sounded for a house fire on Bennett Avenue. Read the entire article here.

Not only was it a fire, the homeowner died in the fire. Firefighters actually attempted a rescue could not save the homeowners life.

The mayor of Flint explained:

He says he does not believe the cuts — while wrenching — allowed for the Bennett Avenue tragedy. Rather, Brown says, the incident was the product of an “unavoidable … perfect storm” of forces that included a fast-moving blaze that likely would have challenged even a better-equipped fire company.

Perfect Storm? Does he mean because everything happened at the same time? What the hell does that actually mean anyways.

Fires aren’t planned, choreographed, scheduled, or otherwise known about ahead of time. I guess getting a fire while in the shower is a perfect storm too huh? Or maybe getting a fire just minutes prior to sitting down to Christmas dinner and the families are all gathered around the table at the station? Or maybe a perfect storm is a fire when someone is home during a fire?

Firefighters don’t give a shit about excuses. Firefighters also do not ask for caveats when getting calls. Although it would be nice to have a rider like bands on tour.

Localities have played russian roulette with public safety for years. Some win, others lose. Some we hear about like Flint, Michigan, yet others are swept under the rug.

I know we have all heard it…the economy is tanking. I can appreciate that, but public safety should be the last to be cut…more importantly, operations in public safety should be the last to be cut. Until these localities prove that they have made every effort to spare public safety, and all other departments are working on bare bones they have no excuses.

I wonder what the risk analysis people are saying in Flint? The cost of laying off 22 firefighters compared to the life of a citizen, injured/burned firefighters (hospitalization, rehab, light duty), negative press, potential litigation, and the IAFF telling everyone that they told you so.