Youngstown firefighters stress concern over proposed cuts to dep - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown firefighters stress concern over proposed cuts to department

Posted: Updated:
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Tuesday night, 21 News was the only station to tell you about potential cuts coming to the Youngstown Fire Department. Now, the firefighter's union is calling it a "sad day" when the city administration wants to swap one safety issue for another. 

The firefighters union has said the way their radio system works is a "significant safety issue" and one that they've filed a grievance over. 

Essentially, once firefighters are out of the truck and in the heat of the fire, dispatch can't hear or communicate with crews directly. Instead, they have to communicate through the battalion chief who monitors the fire from the outside.

The union said in a statement, "Our firefighters have to be safe to protect lives and property."

Fire Chief Barry Finley though disputes the scale of risk calling it only "small." He said with crews easily able to communicate with one another using the radio system on the scene,  the chances of someone not hearing a call for help are "slim to none."

But to avoid the possibility of arbitration, forcing the city to make the expensive adjustments, he's making the controversial call now to come up with the cash.

"I don't want to take the chance of losing in arbitration. Because if we do, I backed the city into a position where they need to come up with $285,000 right now and the city doesn't have it," Finley said.

Finley's proposed solution for coming up with the money to fund the changes to the radio system is to cut two of six battalion chief positions through attrition and not to fill two open firefighter positions.

The union said in a statement, "At this time, we are already down five firefighters and one truck" and add that the battalion chief position "helps reduce the risk of firefighter injury and death."

The chief though stands behind his proposal saying fire calls in the city are down and fire officers can be utilized as "safety officers" if battalion chiefs are stretched thin.

21 News reached out to the president of the Ohio State Firefighters Association, Christopher Peterson, and asked him to weigh-in on the risk of the Youngstown Fire Department's current radio system. He said while redundancy in communication poses a risk, the practice of battalion chiefs relaying information from firefighters to dispatchers is not unusual.

Chief Finley will meet with Council's Safety Committee Thursday evening. However, council has no authority in how the chief runs his department. This is a fight between the union and the administration.

Note: A lot of people on social media have been asking why the city can spend money on new police cruisers and the amphitheater, but not the fire department. The cruisers were bought using traffic camera revenue. And the new amphitheater was funded partly through public-private partnerships.

  • More NewsMore>>

  • Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods as trade war escalates

    Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods as trade war escalates

    Sunday, August 25 2019 5:31 AM EDT2019-08-25 09:31:44 GMT
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this June 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. China has announced it will raise tariff...(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this June 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. China has announced it will raise tariff...
    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this June 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. China has announced it will raise tariff...(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File). FILE - In this June 29, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, left, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan. China has announced it will raise tariff...
    Trump vows response to China tariffs on $75B of US goods, deepening conflict over trade and technology that threatens to tip a weakening global economy into recession.More >>
    Trump vows response to China tariffs on $75B of US goods, deepening conflict over trade and technology that threatens to tip a weakening global economy into recession.More >>
  • Brazilian troops begin deploying to fight Amazon fires

    Brazilian troops begin deploying to fight Amazon fires

    Sunday, August 25 2019 5:31 AM EDT2019-08-25 09:31:25 GMT
    (AP Photo/Leo Correa). Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Frida...(AP Photo/Leo Correa). Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Frida...
    (AP Photo/Leo Correa). Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Frida...(AP Photo/Leo Correa). Neri dos Santos Silva, center, watches an encroaching fire threat after digging trenches to keep the flames from spreading to the farm he works on, in the Nova Santa Helena municipality, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Frida...
    Brazilian troops prepare to deploy in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region.More >>
    Brazilian troops prepare to deploy in the Amazon to fight fires that have swept the region.More >>
  • 'Red flag laws' offer tool for preventing some gun violence

    'Red flag laws' offer tool for preventing some gun violence

    Sunday, August 25 2019 5:21 AM EDT2019-08-25 09:21:26 GMT
    (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP). FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, police tape lines the scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after a deadly shooting at the church Antioch, Tenn.  A man charged in the shooting expressed suicidal ...(Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP). FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, police tape lines the scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after a deadly shooting at the church Antioch, Tenn. A man charged in the shooting expressed suicidal ...
    (Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP). FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, police tape lines the scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after a deadly shooting at the church Antioch, Tenn.  A man charged in the shooting expressed suicidal ...(Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean via AP). FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017 file photo, police tape lines the scene at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ after a deadly shooting at the church Antioch, Tenn. A man charged in the shooting expressed suicidal ...
    From California to Florida, 'red flag laws' are showing promise to prevent some suicides and mass shootings, supporters say.More >>
    From California to Florida, 'red flag laws' are showing promise to prevent some suicides and mass shootings, supporters say.More >>
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2019 WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms