Traverse City Record-Eagle

August 19, 2013

Detroit to train more firefighters

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — DETROIT (AP) — Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is working on a plan to train up to 100 new firefighters, move fire stations and supply new equipment.

Plan developer Edward J. Plawecki Jr. was commissioned by Orr, and said his work is a response to a severe shortage of personnel and equipment. Two years ago, Detroit had 1,027 firefighters; now, there are 796 firefighters, 40 operating fire stations and 20 ambulances.

Union leaders have been meeting regularly with Plawecki to draft the plan, which will be released in mid-September, according to Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley.

“The union has been asking for years to be able to be part of the solution, and it’s turning out that we’re being heard,” said Dan McNamara, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 344. “The emergency manager and his team have reached out to us and want to see a plan from us, and we want to give them one because the safety of the residents is most important.”

McNamara praised Orr and Plawecki and said it’s the first time the city has listened to firefighters in decades.

The city will get 20 new ambulances in August and 20 more in October, Plawecki said. He said six to eight private ambulances will continue to be in service daily.

“We all recognize the city’s broke,” said Joe Barney, a union representative for Detroit emergency medical services workers. “We all recognize that it’s going to have to get rebuilt. To get Detroit back to being a functional city, you’ve got to fix public services.”