|Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Thanks to all the members of Local 798 who attended the funeral of Officer Espinosa. We offer our prayers and sympathy to the family of Officer Espinoza and our brothers and sisters at the Police Officers Association. It was the leadership of Chief Joann Hayes-White that placed in operation on every overpass in the funeral procession, a SFFD Engine or Truck that flew the colors of our country, and a hand salute was given to a man who died protecting San Franciscans from the evil of urban terrorists.
Two members of the Fire Commission will be stepping down: Pat Norman and Carlota Del Portillo. They will be replaced by Rosemarie Fernandez Pifer and Clem Clarke. Good luck to outgoing Commissioners Norman and Del Portillo and welcome Commissioners Pifer and Clarke. We may not have agreed on every issue with Commissioners in the past, but what we did agree on
|was firefighter safety. It was their brave votes and leadership that the Commission passed, with a vote of 5-0, the CPAT as the test for the physical entrance exam into the SFFD. Since that vote, CPAT is now the national standard for entrance physicals into fire departments across our country, but this being San Francisco, much discussion was had on its fit into our Department. That vote will go down as a major injury and lifesaving vote for the citizens and firefighters in our City. We now have a Physical that truly reflects the job.
The San Francisco Firefighter/Para-medic Association has been on a small crusade to place a paramedic on every engine company in town, and has distributed literature calling new SFFD recruits un-trained, with a minimum requirement of a GED and Drivers License. Thats a great idea to have a medic on every engine but where would the funds come from? At a time when bureaucrats are out to close engine and truck companies this small brain trust of paramedics is out to enhance their own self interests at a cost to the whole. Maybe Im missing something here or maybe this group missed the sharing time in kindergarten when we all shared milk and cookies. In the current fiscal climate, the City is already looking to close fire stations. In order to afford paramedics on every engine, even more stations would have to be closed.
Currently, the City has plans to cut Engines 18, 20, 24 and 26 and Truck 14. How can a group be so insensitive to the citizens of San Francisco and to the brothers and sisters they work with, exposing them to the dangers of fires and medical emergencies? Just last week Truck 14 made a daring rescue at a 3rd alarm. How can a group put brothers and sisters at risk by reducing our engine companies? I can only think of being down a smoke-filled hallway with fire coming out at me from all sides. Im trying my best to lead a line to the seat of the fire, looking for rescues to be made. In the back of my mind I know 24 & 26 are right behind 2, and 3rd due. But oh yea, their closed, and it will be a long wait, but thank God every engine is ALS and your OT needs are met. Let us all try to think as a Team and do what is best for the whole. Sometimes if we reevaluate our motives we can remove the self interest in the thought pattern.
Our awareness campaign to let the public know that Engines 18, 20, 24, & 26 and Truck 14 may be closed is up and running. Five thousand letters (5,000) went out and our website www.saveourfirehouses.com is up and running. My only nightmare is that the thought of losing these companies comes true, and the tragedy it would be for the respective neighborhoods. We wont need a 911 Commission to explain how and why.
Keep the faith and stay strong!