TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 22, 2014) - The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association (TPFFA) held a news conference at Toronto City Hall today to outline the drastic effect on public safety that would result from proposed Budget cuts in the City's 2014 Budget.
"Response times are getting longer even without cuts," said Ed Kennedy, President of the TPFFA. "The number of calls has also increased significantly. Toronto continues its building boom and traffic congestion only gets worse. Yet the City is thinking the response to these factors is to cut front line fire fighters, take trucks off the road and close fire stations."
Today, the City Manager will ask the Executive Committee of Council for permission to remove 5 fire trucks from the road, eliminate 105 front line fire fighter positions and close one station. The TPFFA is urging councillors to reject this proposal and to instead insist no decisions should be made until Toronto performs a proper risk analysis on its total fire service requirements and develops an up-to-date fire master plan which has not been revised since 2007.
"Toronto does not meet the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI) guidelines for adequate resources and adequate response times", said Pat Burke, former Fire Marshall for Ontario. "The city should not further erode its resources without undertaking a proper risk analysis - something routinely done by major cities as they plan for their fire service needs."
Last year, the TPFFA demonstrated clearly that the same proposed cuts in the 2013 City Budget would cause an increase in response times of an average 63 seconds in the five affected areas. With current congestion and increased density, that average delay is now even longer.
"Closing fire stations is life threatening", said Irene Atkinson, a School Board Trustee who almost lost her life to a fire in her home on March 16, 2013. "It will delay response time. If the fire fighter who resuscitated me had arrived seconds later, I would not be alive today. Every second counts is not a slogan - it is a reality."
The TPFFA is launching a public education campaign urging citizens to contact their Councillor to express their objections to cuts to front-line fire services. Information and the television commercial can be found at www.secondscounttoronto.ca
About the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association
The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association (TPFFA) represents the 3,000 fire fighters of the Toronto Fire Services. Formed in 1998 with the amalgamation of the City of Toronto, the TPFFA brought together the former associations into a new cohesive bargaining unit. The association is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), as Local 3888, and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.