Letter from fire chief: Mr. Fulop, you haven't a clue
By The Jersey Journal
June 01, 2010, 6:30AM
Reena Rose Sibayan/The Jersey JournalJersey City Fire Chief Michael O'Reilly, left, congratulates newly-promoted Battalion Chief Paul J. Drennan during the ceremony at City Hall, May 24. Looking on are Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy, center left, and Fire Director Armando Roman.
Councilman Fulop, with all due respect, I have checked my roster and daily manpower status sheets and I cannot find any of these top-heavy positions you reference in your OPINION. "In the country" is quite a bold statement to make. I ask what fire consulting expert provided these facts.
It has become obvious that the Jersey City Fire Department has become the punching bag for all the "Fire Experts" to point fingers at, without any input or confirmation from the Fire Department itself. The Fire Department has not created the financial mess we are currently experiencing, and we sure as hell will not take the blame.
It is quite obvious your "Fire Expert" has failed to provide you with critical information regarding the number of retirements the department has experienced over the last fiscal year. By July 1, the department will realize 82 retirements, thus reducing our salary budget by more than $8 million! A reduction in manpower of 14 percent overall! Thousands, YES thousands of years of experience and leadership has retired from the department in one year. Leadership and discipline within the ranks of the department must be maintained. If not there would be chaos, and who would work for an organization with no direction or vision.
While I address your next concern about the Safety Officer, I will make a quote so there is NO misunderstanding about what I intend to convey. "I WILL NOT put the safety of my firefighters and officers, nor the citizens of Jersey City, in jeopardy for a few dollars. Secondly, you have no clue what you are talking about!" If you would like to have a dialogue, I will provide the needed information to enlighten you.
As your second point in the referenced article states, "in the 1980s." Really, the 1980s, that's 30 years ago, I think the city has grown somewhat in the last 30 years. Also, you address the advocacy of a high-rise fire fighting unit, and early proponent of the water vessel, largely covering the Downtown residential, financial district, and accompanying waterfront of the Hudson River. Last time I checked the Fire Department was responsible for providing fire protection for all six wards within the confines of Jersey City, not just Ward E.
In closing, the Fire Department has taken measures to maintain fire protection for the ENTIRE city, reduces costs, and maintain the level of service the taxpayers expect and deserve. If you have a reorganization plan from your "Fire Expert" I would be more than happy to discuss the plan with you or any other council member or members. I will seriously entertain any plan or suggestions to improve fire safety, streamline costs, maintain fire protection, and protect our citizens and property.
With that being said I will quote again: "If the plan is to turn the Jersey City Fire Department into a circus, hire a clown, as I will not jeopardize firefighter or public safety to appease soapbox finger pointing."
CHIEF MICHAEL J. O'REILLY
JERSEY CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT
On Tuesday January 5, 2010 Fire Director John Archer issued his first directive, General Order 10-01. The General Order instructs firefighters to ABANDON the fire engine if there are back to back medical calls and staff the second ambulance. This leaves only the Captain in the firehouse, the fire engine will be OUT OF SERVICE and UNABLE TO RESPOND TO FIRES.
The issue is quite the dilemma. Many times when someone calls for an ambulance, seconds count. We need to arrive as quickly as possible in order to initiate life saving measures. However, we need to carefully balance the needs of all the residents that we protect. When those two firefighters are staffing the second ambulance, there is no chance for a timely response of the fire engine. We have had tremendous success extinguishing fires when we arrive within minutes of being dispatched. Additionally, as many of you already know, our fire engine is equipped to treat people suffering from medical emergencies and traumatic injuries. It would be much more logical to keep the FIRE ENGINE IN SERVICE and call for an ambulance from another town than it would to take the FIRE ENGINE OUT OF SERVICE. We can still respond with the fire engine and provide emergency medical services.
So, what is the driving force behind this? Our guess, MONEY. Every time that ambulance transports someone to the hospital, Robbinsville Township bills the patient’s insurance company, if they have insurance. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are collected every year from ambulance billing and it seems that the Fire Director doesn’t want one penny to be missed.
KIDDE RECALLS DUAL SENSOR SMOKE ALARMS; CAN FAIL TO WARN OF A FIRE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - July 9, 2009 - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.
Name of Product: Kidde Model PI2000 Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms
Units: About 94,000
Manufacturer: Walter Kidde Portable Equipment Inc., of Mebane, N.C.
Hazard: An electrostatic discharge can damage the unit, causing it not to warn consumers of a fire.
Incidents/Injuries: The firm has received two reported incidents of smoke alarm malfunctions involving electrostatic discharge during installation. No injuries have been reported.
Description: This recall involves Kidde dual sensor smoke alarms model PI2000. The alarms can be identified by two buttons, “HUSH” and “PUSH AND HOLD TO TEST WEEKLY,” which are located on the front/center of the alarm. The model number and date code are on the back of the smoke alarm. Only date codes 2008 Aug.01 through 2009 May 04 are included in this recall.
Sold at: Retail, department, and hardware stores and through electrical distributors nationwide from August 2008 through May 2009 for between $30 and $40.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should contact Kidde immediately to receive a free replacement smoke alarm.
Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Kidde toll-free at (877) 524-2086 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.kidde.com
ROBBINSVILLE – January 16, 2010 - On Monday, January 11, 2010 just after 8:00 AM a woman in the Mercer Mobile Home community called 9-1-1 to report that her husband was experiencing chest pain. IAFF Local 3786 firefighter/EMTs responded immediately on Engine 40 to the EMS call as part of protocol for a potential life threat. Firefighters arrived in two minutes just as the patient became unconscious and lapsed into cardiac arrest. Fire department personnel began performing CPR and used a defibrillator carried on the fire engine to “shock” the patient. Firefighters continued to perform CPR and ventilate the patient’s lungs with oxygen. The patient regained a pulse and was transported by ambulance to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton and admitted in critical condition.
Today, the Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association received a “Thank You” letter from the wife of the victim saved by our firefighters. The letter reads,
“On January 11, 2010, my husband Larry had a Heart Attack. I would like to thank you for getting to my home so fast and saving his life. He is doing better thanks to your people. Thank you very much! Love, Gail.”
This is yet another example of how our full time paid professional firefighters have a positive impact on members of the community every day. Rapid response time, highly trained, accountable and experienced personnel who are familiar with the local neighborhoods save lives. Once again, as always, it is our pleasure to serve you.
LAYOFFS! YOUR FIRE AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE IS NOW ADVERSELY AFFECTED BY MAYOR FRIED’S DECISION TO CREATE NEW ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS, PROMOTE HIS FRIENDS AND LAYOFF YOUR FIREFIGHTERS.
RECOGNIZE THESE GUYS?
LAID OFF DECEMBER 16, 2009
Chances are if you called 911 or stopped by for a firehouse tour with your kids that you probably saw Don or Frank. Don has been with the department since February of 2003 and has a young daughter that depends on her dad’s job to put food on the table and provide her with proper health care. Frank has been with the department since February of 1998, starting out as a volunteer and then hired on full time in October of 2003. Frank is single, but depends on his paycheck to keep a roof over his head and food on his plate.
I was saddened to read Mayor Fried's bald-face lies concerning negotiations between his office and the union I represent.
At no time, under no circumstance was there any offer or request by Robbinsville Township for the members of L3786 to renegotiate or discuss any contractual item prior to the layoff notices delivered to two of my members on December 16, 2009. Telling us to come up with 175K after laying off two members does not constitute negotiation.
I offered my assistance to the mayor on December 11, 2009 at a meeting he assembled with the leadership of all bargaining units. At this meeting, Mayor Fried announced his unilateral change in health benefits. I told the mayor that L3786 could not concede to a unilateral change in health care benefits without knowing what other concessions may be needed. I offered in good faith to have a dialogue concerning potential concessions. Four days later, two of our members received pink slips.
L3786 was the first bargaining unit within the township to agree to health care contributions. This agreement took place during contract negotiations in 2008.
L3786 recognizes that we work for the taxpayers of Robbinsville. We are keenly aware of the fiscal crisis our state is under. L3786 will continue to stand up to the anti-union tactics deployed by Mayor Fried. L3786 expects additional retaliation from the mayor for exercising our rights as a labor organization. The real loser will be the citizens of Robbinsville who depend on us.
Robbinsville Professional Firefighters Association
IAFF Local 3786