Fire staffing levels going up after Labor Day, according to Councilor Rourke

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In 2014 Number of Rescue/ EMS Calls 9,933 (per City of Lowell Budget)

Apparently 114 Opioid overdoses in July isn’t that concerning or doesn’t require a response from the Council or Administration. Maybe because it’s summer and they figure no one notices, maybe maintaining the budget in an election year is more important?

We spend $500,000 to detect a gun shot but can’t staff a fire company that may prevent a death? or loss of property?

According to Councilor Dan Rourke staffing will increase AFTER Labor Day ( you know before the Preliminary Election)

Will that staffing include a promise to the residents of Centralville and Pawtucketville who both have only 1 fire station that NO Company in these stations will ever close?

Will that staffing keep all companies in the city open and fully staffed? Is this Council committed to ALL PUBLIC SAFETY or just to the police?

Will it take another Branch St or the overdose of a “prominent” member of the community before this Council fully staffs the Lowell Fire Dept?

At least Councilor Dan Rourke, unlike other councillors or council challengers is willing to respond and address the issue head on.

Here’s Councilor Rourke’s response to my post yesterday

Good morning Gerry.

Here is a little bit of information in regards to your concerns.

At the 54 minute mark of this year’s budget meeting I asked both the City Manager and Fire Chief about company closings. The explanation was given as to when the city would to re-opening companies and also to reasons of spending .

The answer given to the Council suggests that as of Labor Day the city would return to previous company levels of staffing. Feel free in the future to give me a call if you have an questions.

Enjoy your Sunday. Danny

and follow up email…

Gerry,

By the time of the next council meeting , Sept 8th, we should be back up to normal levels. If not, questions will definitely be asked. But I will see on Monday if the city can return sooner. Email you the answer. With regards to your hypotheticals, the Fire Dept has been terrific is covering all parts of the city.

The Fire Chief have assured the council as much, and although its not perfect, the job is getting done with efficiency and exemplary performance. The city will be that much more safer come September if not sooner. Fire Dept staffing is being addressed with new FFs either in or just having graduated the academy and hopefully a Safer grant that will add 12 more. If for some reason we are not successful with obtaining the grant, the issue must be dealt with in the next budget.

GN: While I appreciate Councilor Rourke taking the time to respond, let’s not forget Chief Pitta was very clear in March (much to Managers Murphy’s dislike) that this Council and Administration needs to address the staffing and again in this past years budget, they did not!

He had no choice but to assure the Council he could work within the parameters he was given but made it clear in March it wasn’t by choice nor is it the best route.Yet again this Administration and Council ignored his words.

No wonder Manager Murphy wants his own Chief, he doesn’t want one who tells the truth. The City of Lowell Fire Dept. is under staffed but the Administration and Council are willing to gamble with that portion of public safety.

What is the status of the SAFER grant?

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