A "revenue generating" firefighter activity that has not worked out
Andy Mannix, writing in the April 25th edition of City Pages, describes the status of a revenue generating experiment with the Minneapolis Fire Department:
It's been slightly more than six months since Minneapolis started tasking its on-duty firefighters with boarding up buildings and houses all over the city, and the program is already on track to be a disaster. When City Councilmembers introduced the board-up plan, they projected it would save the cash-strapped department $400,000 a year.
At the halfway point of the first year, the program has billed about $39,000, according to fire department data, which does little more than cover the costs of materials.
The greater cost of the program, according to many in the fire department, is that it's pulling firefighters away from emergencies, and spreading an already imperiled department dangerously thin.
Read the entire story here: Minneapolis Fire Dept. board-up plan failing after six months
Milwaukee is removing one on-duty firefighter from a fire force that is already below NFPA 1710 staffing to drive a board-up truck.
Mannix has been following the staffing issue, on November 3, 2010 he wrote Minneapolis Fire Department faces perilous future: Cuts have left MFD below industry standards.
In 2002 engine company staffing shrank to 3. The opening to the November article described a flashover that occured during a rescue operation at McMahon's Irish Pub on April 2, 2010.
In addition to smaller engine crews, the nearest ladder company to McMahons was disbanded one month earlier.
After years of cuts, many firefighters say that an already dangerous job has become perilous.
Up until a few years ago, it was standard practice to cut open the roof on burning structures—like the building that housed McMahon's—to prevent a backdraft and a similar phenomenon called a flashover.
The once-routine protocol has been all but abandoned in Minneapolis as a result of having to make due with a smaller staff, says Capt. Pat Swaggert, one of the men inside McMahon's during the explosion.
Details of the fire that killed three adults and three children in apartments above the pub are HERE.
Video of fire from ocypete
Mannix provided additional data in Man Down: Follow the paper trail
When considering implementation of the board up program in 2008, there was a glut of abandoned buildings in the city. By 2010 the person that was running a commercial board-up company was reducing his staff, said he was making 1/3rd of what he was making in 2008.
Bill "Firegeezer" Schumm documented this folly when it started. October 1, 2010: Saving Money Raises Costs in Minneapolis
So why is the city still doing this program?
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward
Also on FireGeezer…
- LAFD gets $1.6M to staff 11 ambulances with overtime crews until June – May 7, 2013
- Demoted Deputy Chief Wins Big Settlement – December 21, 2012
- LAFD reduces Light Force staffing to put 11 additional ambulances on the road – April 30, 2013
- Organizational Hypoxia – March 15, 2013