Stand up for safety, Cedar Falls! Tell City Council to hire more full-time firefighters.
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Cedar Falls citizens, please sign this petition to tell your city government that you want them to hire AT LEAST eight more career firefighters! (Please read the facts below if you're not sure why this is so important.)
The approximate total cost of hiring eight firefighters would be $800,000 and would bring the total number of shift firefighters to 33, which would allow for a maximum daily staffing level of 11. This would still fall short of national standards, but would allow the city to staff both of the current fire stations, as well as occasionally staffing the currently closed Fire Station #2 in North Cedar. Much of this cost could be covered by redirecting the $530,000-$600,000 the University of Northern Iowa pays the city of Cedar Falls for fire protection services; this money currently goes to the city's general fund, rather than to the fire department.
WHY FIREFIGHTER STAFFING LEVELS SHOULD MATTER TO YOU:
Did you know that the National Fire Protection Agency recommends a minimum of 15 firefighters respond initially to a single-family house fire? And for 7+ story buildings like Bender and Dancer Hall at UNI, the NFPA recommends a minimum of 43 firefighters.
Cedar Falls’ current minimum daily staffing level is six (three per station), or five, with the sixth being an on-duty cross-trained Public Safety Officer (PSO) who is on duty as a police officer.
Being a firefighter is, by nature, dangerous and stressful under the best of circumstances. However, current circumstances are FAR from the best. Cedar Falls' full-time fire department is severely understaffed (only 27 total career firefighters, 25 of whom are shift firefighters), especially when compared to other cities of the same size. (See the Oct. 2 comparison chart post on https://www.facebook.com/CFFirefighters/ for those numbers.)
PSOs are replacing--not supplementing--career firefighters, and the Public Safety Officer program is not adequately training and preparing PSOs for medical and fire emergencies. This puts everyone in danger—firefighters, PSOs, and citizens.
If a PSO is designated as the sixth "firefighter" on duty to meet the minimum staffing level, there is no guarantee that he/she can respond immediately to the scene of an emergency, because he/she is already on duty as a police officer and responding to those calls. It also adds confusion to emergency situations: should the PSO perform police officer or firefighter duties?
Cedar Falls has reduced its emergency personnel staffing to the point that they regularly rely on emergency help from Waterloo and smaller surrounding communities such as Janesville. It’s unfair to those communities and their tax-paying citizens.
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