Letter From The Directors ...
By Michael Walsh, Director
Hittin’ the Streets Running

Well, the election was a huge success with a whopping 850 votes cast out of 1500+ mailed out. Thanks to all of you who cast your vote for me. I am very humbled and honored to serve. I would also like to thank Jerry Keohane and the members of Station 16 for getting the word out, and the members of Station 17 for their hard work and patience. During my campaign, I visited most of the firehouses and heard an array of concerns that I will pass on. I look forward to working with the newly elected Board. Thanks again for allowing me to serve.

Health and Safety

The Health and Safety Committee met for the first time this year on March 7th. The Committee is made up of labor and management; but unfortunately all the suppression people are from the labor side. There was a lot of positive discussion regarding various issues, but the main concern was the current outbreak of Staph that more than 3 of our members have contracted and there was some recommendation to immediately distribute anti-bacterial sanitizers to all suppression companies. It was suggested that, going forward, to add onboard dispensers and to specify a hand basin cleaning area for decontamination after the run. We are still waiting. In the interim, please call the union office if you know someone who has become infected so that we can track it. Before the merger, the ambulances were routinely cleaned and disinfected at a wash rack at the “Plant” on 25th Street. As of this date there is no proper facility to accomplish this in the City.

Turn Outs are another issue. Everyone has had the nightmare of acquiring safety equipment; -making appointments, long waits and no equipment. The Committee discussed streamlining the process which would be a great stride if accomplished. The Department recently checked a cross-section of Turn Out gear and found that 75% were in need of repair or were otherwise defective in some way. Could this be because it’s a major pain to get out to the Island knowing that there is little hope that there will be stock to choose from? Please know that Turn Out gear needs to be cleaned when contaminated and that there is a process for this. Notify Clothing if your gear needs cleaning. Do not wash Turn Outs in the firehouse washing machine as cross contamination may occur.

Here it is April and the SFFD is out of money for station supplies once again. You may have seen a Directive about washing the white rags for re-use. I checked on this and was told by the supply officer that the order came from the Chief of Support Services at HQ. This is a health issue for all members so please be careful. The City does not supply the washing machine or dryers.

Rodents and insects are abundant in most firehouses and this is of top concern to the union. Since the advent of the so-called “green” cans storing raw food waste have appeared (and usually located in the kitchen) there has been a tremendous increase in the rodent population. Because the space in and around the fire stations is at a premium most of the trash cans are stored either inside or very close to the entrances. This is one of those programs that was skewed from the start and no one will admit it was a bad idea. Since adding ambulances and ALS engine companies each carrying massive packaging materials, where is all this trash going to go? The talk was to get a compromise reached; maybe a small dumpster and the recycling bins.

You may or may not remember that a number of years ago Harvey Rose blistered the SFFD for the condition of the Fire apparatus in his audit. With the recent debacle of our 10 new pumpers, the situation has not improved. The fleet is in shambles when all the while the Bureau of Equipment remains without an officer in charge. The SFFD has a $969,000 “Incident Command Vehicle” being built outside of New Orleans as Engine 3 sits at Central Shops for months awaiting money for bodywork. Engine 3 is one of the busiest companies in the nation and they are eating up the relief’s pieces like cornbread. You may not remember that way back in the ‘90s the SFFD and SFPD received “Incident Command Vehicles”. The SFFD Administration gave the ICV earmarked for us to DPW because it was too large to operate in the city. Hold on tight, the new million dollar wonder measures out at over 39 ft. in length with a wheelbase of 24 ft. twice as long as an engine company. Ever wonder why San Francisco has tractor drawn aerial tiller trucks? Health and Safety will meet again in early April, more to follow.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade was a huge success with over 300 marchers. Special thanks to Ramon Serrano and his group of members from Station 8. These guys served over 150 meals to the SFFD marching unit and visiting Locals totaled over 10. Bob Cappa and his crew from Station 11 were also on hand for special projects. The CDF Pipe band was one of the largest and placed 3rd in the Parade. Kudos to Jerry Keohane for being very patient with the Administration trying to get some apparatus to showcase to the taxpayers. This was the first time in 20 years we couldn’t use in-service companies. The antique rigs we normally use to distribute toys to the children were mysteriously locked up on Tennessee Street and only key was in Cazadero hmmm. Thanks to Sally at the Toys, Pat Hannon Station 11, Mike O’Rolovich Station 16 and Con Lucey at Station 2 for running the Toy crew. Many thanks go to Oakland Local 55 for putting a splendid piece of apparatus directly behind our marching unit. All had a great time; the young guys were really there in force. Everyone was proud in their dress blues. See ya next year.

Closing in memory of Arvid Havernas and Kevin Devine, both great friends from Fireboat 1. I can be contacted via email at walshfundirector@aol.com.


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