Engine 7 to disband

Comments: 0

It seems that the common theme the past 8 years, that is as long as I have been here, is that just when you think that the changing has ended, it continues. I am sure that many of my brothers and sisters who have been here longer will say the changes began long before 1999. After all, speaking from both sides of the fence, the Firefighters and Paramedics (including a few EMT’s) were thrown into a tailspin during the merger. There were many opinions on the matter, and most people maintain that the merge was flawed from the beginning and didn’t stand a chance. Here we are over ten years later and it is evident that there are still band aids on the entire merge. Was it necessary? My opinion is yes, and many will agree. It just wasn’t done correctly.

Some of the other issues over the years which left Firefighters thinking “What the hell were they thinking?”. For instance removing Engine 1 to Engine 14, Disbanding Engine 12 to create two ambulances, one of those being in the County.

I assure you that I know very well it is easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. However, when most firefighters tend to agree on something, that something is probably well worth listening to the firefighters. That is where the issue lies.

Currently we are just getting ready to settle into our new digs at the new Fire Station 1 Headquarters, closing Station 3 and possibly Station 1 for good. Yet when we are just getting used to the idea of our two oldest fire stations closing, we are thrown for several new ideas.

If you remember, back in September 2005, there was a post about an editorial that Chris Muse wrote poking fun at the fact that if Station 1 caught fire Station 3 would have to be called to put it out (link). His ignorance was commenting on how Ladder 1 doesn’t have any water. Well I wonder what he is going to think when the City removes Engine 7 from his station in Old Southwest Roanoke. Then who will put out the Fire Station if it catches fire? After all, Engines put out fires, right.

The plan is to remove Engine 7 from service at Station 7. Currently Station 7 houses Engine 7 and Ladder 7. Engine 7 has been in service since December 13, 1922 and Ladder 7 was added in 1950. In 1998 Ladder 7 received a new truck which is what some would call a Quint. A Quint was designed to accomplish 5 tasks at once; carry hose, pump, water, ground ladders, an aerial ladder. Which is great to get all that equipment to the scene at once, but does little good when you don’t have the firefighters to use the equipment. Contrary to popular belief, Firefighters put out fire using different tactics.

When the plan is complete, Station 7 will house Ladder 7 and Medic 7. Ladder 7 is a quint with a 75′ aerial ladder and 300 gallons and currently runs around 600 calls a year. It spends a good bit of time in the garage due to certain engineering flaws and I find it hard to believe that it will do much better running at least the amount of calls that Engine 7 runs which is probably in the neighborhood of 1200 calls a year.

The question is why is Engine 7 being taken out of service. The answer is because we don’t have the manpower to staff the new ambulance so Engine 7′s staff will be split up between Medic 7 and Ladder 7.

We don’t have the manpower? What about those six firefighters down at Roanoke County Clearbrook Station 7? They sure would fit the bill at our Station 7, after all they are our firefighters. Whose citizens are we concerned about first?

I know that the firefighters were shipped to Clearbrook to provide coverage for the Pheasant Ridge area, but was it necessary? Not in my opinion. There are many areas that the County needs coverage for in which they cannot provide service and they ask us to cover those areas with mutual aid. You don’t see Roanoke County placing County Firefighters in City Stations. Look all around the City, Station 11, 10, 13, 2, and 4 all have standing automatic aid agreements with Roanoke County which are utilized often. Other stations like 6, 7, 8, and 14 commonly run mutual aid with the County. It is working, all the mutual aid and automatic aid have provided the City and County with quicker response times for second due companies. However, the placement of City firefighters in County Stations is unnecessary.

It seems like a no brainer for me. Move the 6 firefighter from Clearbrook to staff Medic 7.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!