JAMESTOWN – Firefighters in Jamestown are sounding the alarm about understaffing issues within the department.
Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association President Shawn Shilling in a statement to the media Monday morning said for the past two decades the city fire department has been seriously understaffed leaving a “unnecessary risk” to city residents.
“As firefighters entrusted with the safety of the citizens of Jamestown, we can no longer remain silent about the current state of affairs concerning your Jamestown Fire Department,” said Shilling.
Since 2009, Shilling says calls for emergency service to the Jamestown Fire Department have steadily increased, while the number of firefighters available to respond have decreased.
Current policy places residents at risk by only having enough fire fighters to staff the city’s ambulance leaving the ladder truck out of service and unavailable to respond to structure fires, Shilling explained.
Through research of live data the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a nationally recognized organization of firefighting experts on tactics, best practices, and safety, determined a minimum standard of firefighting resources required when responding to fires. Something, according to Shilling, the city is not meeting.
“The lack of commitment by Jamestown officials to properly address the minimum NFPA standards as well as failure to address the increase of emergency ambulance requests continues to be a major liability for the City and places our citizens at even more risk,” said Shilling.
Jamestown Professional Firefighters say they are committed to working with officials and community leaders to find solutions that best provide fire and emergency medical services for city residents.
“The policy to staff our only ladder company with the same personnel as the only ambulance we have, is a dangerous practice that if not properly addressed will continue to place an increased risk to the citizens of Jamestown,” Shilling explained.
Shilling said going forward city firefighters would like to hear from the public about the low staffing issues and speak with city officials about finding a solution to the problem.
He explained the fall election will likely be a crucial turning point for the city and their emergency response department.