Toronto Firefighters Say Budget Cuts will Endanger Lives
Toronto's firefighters are speaking out against proposed budget cuts by the city that would see fewer fire trucks on the road and leave more than one hundred frontline positions permanently vacant.
The President of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters' Association (TPFFA) says the planned cuts in resources will endanger lives.
"Put simply, these cuts will impact our ability to protect the people of Toronto," said Ed Kennedy, at a news conference on Wednesday morning to alert the public to the proposals included in the 2013 Operating Budget.
Kennedy says the city already has a failing grade in meeting the National Fire Protection standards and a reduction in resources would 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 and will go before the City's Executive Committee on Thursday, before being voted on voted by Council next week.
If passed, Kennedy says the response times will increase across the city.
Kennedy made his remarks in front of 57 Huron Street, the scene of a fatal fire in October 2011, in which he says crews were delayed due to short-staffing.
The TPFFA has launched an awareness campaign on the proposed budget measures, and is encouraging the people 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.