Fire department set to start annual rotations next year

The firefighters’ union calls the Nutter Administration’s planned transfer of 293 firefighters to various stations starting in 2013 a dangerous move.

Last week Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers issued a memo to the department that stated it will begin an annual rotation next year with 156 firefighters who have worked at stations for ten years or more. The following year rotations will consist of those who have worked at stations for at least eight years.

“This is a complete recipe for disaster,” said Bill Gault, head of Firefighters Local 22, adding that firefighters will be in unfamiliar territory which could lead to more injuries and longer response times.

The administration said that this will help broaden firefighters’ experience especially for those looking to move up the ranks by introducing them to various parts of the city, neighborhoods that have different types of emergency calls for service and levels of demand.

“It’s not a good thing to have public safety first responders in the same spot year, after year, after year,” said Michael Resnick, director of public safety, adding that other cities do this. “If you’re going to climb up the ranks this makes for a well-rounded officer.”

Resnick said stations will not be completely void of senior firefighters which was a concern raised by union leaders. Under the plan most firefighters will work for about five years at any given station. Firefighters were asked in the memo to send requests for locations.