NT fire asked for additional manpower
Recently, representatives from the North Tonawanda Fire Department (NTFD) asked the common council to consider the approval of hiring an additional firefighter.
There are currently 35 firefighters on staff in North Tonawanda, which is a number that is down from 38 due to two retirements and one disability. Further more, that number is down from its former 58 firefighters who were employed in 1993.
The NTFD previously brought this matter to the attention of the board, however, it was not in the budget for last years tentative budget planning.
As a result, the fire department missed the opportunity to send a firefighter to an eight-week training program, which at that time, was held in Buffalo and offered to firefighters free of cost.
Now, in the event the council approves the hire of one additional body for the department, an eight week EMS Training Course will cost the city $2,400. During the training course, the selected fire fighter would also receive 85 percent of their benefits.
The course is scheduled to begin July 29. After completing the course and receiving additional training at the fire hall, the official start date of the individual will be Dec. 7.
In the event the council does not approve the hire, the department will continue to operate three men short of their comfortable number of 38 until the next training course is offered. At that time, they would re-approach the council with the same concerns.
Although NTFD President Frank DeMart assured the board the fire department is capable of working like this, being down a man does accrue overtime hours.
“We have gained more buildings in the city and the population is getting older,” said DeMart. “Although the main purpose of the fire department is to put out fires, 70 percent of it is EMS calls.”
The council is strongly considering the request from NTFD and agreed to further discuss the item.
A decision should be made by July 1.