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Career Firefighters Break Their Silence

The Garden City Professional Fire Fighters Association says department response times differ greatly from the response times included in the ICMA report.

The Garden City Professional Fire Fighters Association has released a statement to residents and business owners of Garden City.
The Garden City Professional Fire Fighters Association has released a statement to residents and business owners of Garden City.
Garden City's professional firefighters have broken their silence regarding the village-commissioned International County/City Managers Association's (ICMA) analysis of the department's overall performance, stating they believe department changes are being implemented based on completely inaccurate data.

The Garden City Professional Fire Fighters Association has released the following statement to residents and business owners of Garden City:
 
Over the past few months, you have heard much discussion regarding your fire department and the services which we provide. The Professional Firefighters Association has been reluctant to respond as many of our members fear retribution by the village, in the form of possible layoffs or the further reduction of staff.

In January 2012 the Village Board contracted the International County/City Managers Association, (ICMA) to prepare an analysis of the Garden City Fire Department. Information was gathered for this report over a 3 day period from multiple sources including the Garden City Fire Department, the Garden City Police Department, and Nassau County Fire Communications Center, also known as Firecom. In August 2012 that report was issued and released to the public by the Village.
 
After reviewing the report, the Professional Firefighters found there were many inaccuracies found in the information provided by ICMA, most notably the reported response times. In August of 2012 the Village Board voted to implement ICMA Report recommendations number six: Eliminate staffing at satellite stations during night hours. Review the necessity for daytime staffing at the satellite stations following the recommended change in dispatching; and recommendation number eight: Change dispatch to Firecom to improve dispatch/turnout time and allow continued achievement of response time performance.
 
At the August 2012 Village Board meeting, Lieutenant Peter Clancy, president of the Professional Fire Fighters Association, addressed the board expressing our overwhelming concerns that recommendations number six and eight were based on inaccurate information. In August of 2012, recommendation number eight was implemented immediately, and in December 2012 the Board voted to adopt and take action on recommendation number six.

With all other avenues exhausted, we are presenting this information to the public.
 
The ICMA recommendations #6 and #8 were implemented based upon a 7 minute response time as outlined in the ICMA report. However, actual run data, collected from village computers, show actual response time averaged 4 minutes and 22 seconds. Since recommendation #8 was implemented (switching dispatch duties to FIRECOM) actual response times have increased to 5 min 13 seconds and is NOT a decrease of three-and-a-half minutes as reported.
 
The following chart outlines the discrepancies in the ICMA data vs. the actual data on village computers. Included are the current response times now that dispatching has been transferred to Firecom.

The ICMA report has the following times:
-Dispatch Time: 3.5 minutes
-Travel Time: 3.5 minutes
-Response time: 7 minutes
 
Times recorded by the Village of Garden City:
-Dispatch time: 1 minute 2 seconds
-Travel time: 3 minutes 20 seconds
-Response time: 4 minutes 22 seconds
 
Times since switching to Nassau County Firecom:
-Dispatch time: 1 minute 55 seconds
-Travel time: 3 minutes 19 seconds
-Response time: 5 minutes 13 seconds
 
-The average dispatch time is the amount of time it takes to receive a call and dispatch it to department members.

-The average travel time is the amount of time that it takes for the first apparatus to arrive at scene.

-The average response time is the average total time from the call to the first arriving unit.
 
On December 20th the village board voted to adopt the ICMA report recommendation #6, eliminate staffing at satellite fire stations during night hours. Once again, we feel that this decision was based upon inaccurate data and to date, we have yet to be contacted for any review of our data or to participate in a review of the ICMA report.

According to the United States Fire Administration FEMA (USFA) fifty-one percent of civilian fire fatalities in residential buildings occur between the hours of 10pm. and 6am. Additionally, the leading human factor contributing to injuries in residential building fires was being “asleep” (55 percent). Furthermore, the majority of all carbon monoxide incidents where injuries or fatalities are reported happen at night, when homeowners are asleep.

Additionally, we have made available, a review of the ICMA report prepared by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). The IAFF, founded in 1918, is an internationally recognized fire organization with 298,000 members, many of which sit on the boards of many prestigious fire safety associations and organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The NFPA is the agency that sets the national standards for fire department operations, training, manufacturing standards, and building and fire construction codes among others.

We encourage residents to read the full review report submitted by the IAFF. Copies may be obtained at Fire Headquarters upon request.

In conclusion we feel that unsafe changes to your village fire department are being implemented based on inaccurate data and will have a negative impact on the village. We strongly urge you to contact your local village board member and address your concerns with them regarding these changes.
 
As always we are proud to serve the village of Garden City as we have done for over sixty years protecting the lives and property of Garden City.

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