We just got some more details on how the fire department “rolling closures,” designed to save on city overtime costs, will work. Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers is set to brief fire fighters on this topic later this evening.
Deputy Mayor for Public Safey Everett Gillison tells us that the city plans to shut Engine 38 for up to two years. That company had been located on Longshore Ave, near State Road, but has been moved between other sites since the firehouse was demolished as part of the I-95 expansion. Gillison said Engine 38 will restart when the new firehouse is built, which could take up to two years.
In addition to shutting down Engine 38 for the near future, the city plans to shut two companies per shift on a rolling basis. Gillison said those companies will be determined based on size, capacity and proximity to other fire facilities. He said a full schedule of what companies will be closed when over the next year, should be released next week.
Gillison said the closures will save about $3.8 million in overtime. The plans go into effect on August 2.
But Gillison said public safety should not be at risk, because the city actually shuts an average of five companies each day for training currently. And he said under the new plans, there will still be five companies closed each day. In future, Gillison said just two companies would close a day for in-person training – and the city plans to provide more web-based training that fire fighters can do in their firehouse.
“We’re definitely doing this. This is not something unusual, this is not something new. We're doing it to attack our overtime. This does not affect safety,” Gillison said.