TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 9, 2013) - Planned cuts in resources and personnel to Toronto Fire Services will endanger lives, the President of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association ("TPFFA") said today.
"Put simply, these cuts will impact our ability to protect the people of Toronto," said Ed Kennedy, at a news briefing to alert the public to the proposals contained in the 2013 Toronto Fire Services Operating Budget.
"Toronto already has a failing grade in meeting National Fire Protection standards," said Kennedy. "A reduction in resources and personnel will only make the situation worse."
The City's draft budget calls for the closing of Fire Station 424 in the Runnymede area, for taking five frontline trucks out of service in Scarborough, High Park, Etobicoke and Riverdale (combined, the trucks responded to 6,344 emergency calls in 2011) and for the permanent elimination of 101 front-line positions.
The Budget Committee made its final recommendations on the proposals on Tuesday, January 8, 2013.
The budget will go before the City's Executive Committee on January 10, and be voted on by full Council on January 15-17, 2013.
If passed, said Kennedy, "Response times will increase city wide."
Kennedy made his remarks in front of 57 Huron Street in Toronto, the scene of a fatal fire in October 2011 of last year.
"Our message to Councillors has been very clear," he said. "Toronto Fire Services has had no increase to its staffing complement since amalgamation in 1998. Any cuts to our current staffing levels that would increase response times and endanger the lives of the citizens of Toronto or its firefighters, is unacceptable."
The TPFFA has launched an awareness campaign on the proposed budget measures, and is encouraging the people of Toronto to contact their Councillors to express their opposition to unnecessary budget cuts.
Meanwhile, the TPFFA is calling on the City to conduct its due diligence and assess the potential impact on resident safety, and on the protection of property.
"There needs to be much more consultation," said Kennedy, "and it all starts with the community."
The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association (TPFFA) represents the 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 association. The association is affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), as Local 3888, and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.