firefighters

Politics & Government
11:30 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Detroit firefighters are getting help from a national charity

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit firefighters are getting some help from a national charity to buy some basic equipment.

The National Firefighters Endowment is trying to raise $100,000 to pay for gloves, boots and flashlights.

“We’re hoping to step in and help get their back, help get provisions for them (and) make sure that they have everything they need to do their job safely,” says Shane Parkins, who’s with the endowment.

Detroit’s is one of the busiest fire departments in the country.  One of the reasons is the high volume of arson fires in the city. 

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Politics & Government
2:48 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Michigan lawmakers are considering changes to workers' compensation rule for firefighters

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

State lawmakers are grappling with an issue that pits Michigan’s firefighters against insurance companies.

A bill before the Senate Judiciary committee would expand workers compensation coverage to Michigan’s five thousand paid firefighters to include ten types of cancer, including respiratory tract, bladder, skin, and brain.

The change would ‘presume’ fighting fires caused the cancers and not require firefighters to prove exposure on the job is responsible.

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Politics & Government
2:52 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Bay City's police and fire departments will merge

Bay City
User Asher196 Wikimedia Commons

In Bay City, police officers are being trained to fight fires.

That’s after the city’s commission voted to merge the police and fire departments into one Public Safety Department on Monday.

The move means police officers will fight fires in addition to their normal duties.

Fourteen of the city’s 44 full-time firefighters will be laid off. 

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Politics & Government
2:58 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Union chief: Detroit Fire Department in 'utter chaos'

Detroit Fire Department headquarters.
Wikipedia

The head of Detroit’s firefighters union says the department is in “utter chaos” after new overtime restrictions came down this week.

City officials acknowledge the situation is difficult, but say it’s under control.

Union chief Dan McNamara says the drastic overtime restrictions—announced by memo to firefighters earlier this week--will basically cripple a fire department that’s already understaffed.

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Politics
12:45 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Pontiac firefighters protest plans to shutter department

Police and fire services are often on the chopping block when city budgets run tight. The emergency manager in Pontiac wants to close the city's department.
user derekskey Flickr

First the police department, and now the fire department.

The city of Pontiac, like many cities across the U.S., is facing a future with less money.

The state-appointed emergency manager in Pontiac, Lou Schimmel, wants to close the city's fire department.

From WXYZ News:

Closing the fire department, Schimmel says, is one part of the solution and will save the city $3 million. Schimmel says pay and benefit cuts will come with the deal. "If we do everything the same, we'll be out of business and nobody's going to get paid," Schimmel says. "They'll all lose their jobs." Schimmel has given firefighters until Friday to ratify the deal.

The Detroit Free Press quotes Kenneth Estell, a trustee with Pontiac Firefighters Union Local 376 who says the union will fight the changes "to the end":

“We love our jobs. We love our citizens. There’s a lot of tradition in this department. And we’re saving the citizens money. And when it comes to the safety of the citizens, we provide a good service.”

Estell says they've offered alternatives to the proposed cuts.

Pontiac's emergency manager says their proposals don't come close to the $3 million in cuts needed. From the Detroit Free Press:

“It’s the only option -- we save $3 million,” Schimmel said, adding the changes would take effect in January. “There is no way in the world we can save $3 million by keeping our own fire department. They didn’t even come close to a million dollars, let alone $3 million. And we are running out of cash.”

Pontiac firefighters have until Dec 9 to approve of a plan that would "offer early retirement to 18 firefighters, bonuses to others and the opportunity to be hired by Waterford Township."

As a state-appointed emergency manager, Schimmel has the authority to dissolve existing union contracts.

Politics
12:18 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

In Flint, Vice President Biden blasts Congressional Republicans for stalling jobs bill

Vice President Joe Biden is flanked by Flint police officers and firefighters during a speech at one of the city's fire stations
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Vice President Joe Biden used a speech in Flint to chastise Congressional Republicans for stalling the President’s jobs bill.  

 Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote on the $447 billion bill last night.    The bill’s tax hike on millionaires was a major reason cited.  

The bill contains money for hiring firefighters and police officers. Biden talked about how budget cuts in recent years have slashed the number of police officers and firefighters on Flint streets.  

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Politics
10:45 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Lansing voters asked to increase property taxes (again)

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

For a second time this year, Lansing voters will be asked to decide if they want to increase their property taxes. There are fears of deep cuts in police and fire protection if the millage is rejected again. 

 In May, Lansing voters rejected a millage increase. After that, the city laid off 47 police officers and firefighters to close a multi-million dollar budget gap. 

Now the city’s finance director is predicting another $12 to $15 million gap next year.

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Investigation
4:52 pm
Wed December 1, 2010

DTE not at fault for Detroit fires

The DTE Energy campus as viewed from the MGM Grand Casino in Detroit
Ian Freimuth flickr user

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) issued a report today on DTE's role in the fires that swept through Detroit during a windstorm on September 7th, 2010. The report found no wrongdoing on DTE's part.

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