|Letter From The Directors ...|
|By Michael Walsh, Director|
On July 21, 2007 two Contra Costa Firefighters Matthew Burton and Scott Desmond died tragically at a house fire in San Pablo while attempting a double rescue. I, along with John Hanley and Shon Buford were honored to represent Local 798 at the memorial. Many of our members also were in attendance. It was a sobering moment for all who were present. Thanks to the SFFD administration for assembling a strike team of five SFFD Engine Companies to cover Contra Costa Counties firehouses. Never before have outside Cities and Fire Districts covered a department with over 38 houses while they mourned the loss of their own. Our own Local 798 brothers and sisters were on that apparatus doing the job. The City also sent Truck Company 1 to participate in the memorial parade of over 300 pieces of apparatus with members from over 100 Locals in
|attendance. Showing unity with Contra Costa County Professional Firefighters Local 1230, we left there with a great sense of accomplishment assisting our brothers and sisters while they mourned the loss of these two heros.
The new contract was affirmed with two days of unanimous voting at the UICC. The contract at this writing is awaiting approval of the full Board of Supervisors. We feel this is a fair contract for all the members. Congratulations to Local 798s negotiation team of John Hanley, Joe Moriarty, Frank Kelly, Tom OConnor and Diane Sidd Champion. The board listened to the members needs, worked hard to achieve the goals that were set.
The Captains exam 10 years in the making was certified and the new Captains have been appointed in rank order as the Chief promised. We now have a mid-management of appointed Captains running the Firehouses. Congratulations to all that participated in the testing process and to the Board for negotiating a three year list.
Apparatus and Equipment
It looks like City Hall cut out of the budget a major portion of Engines and especially Trucks that are so desperately needed. The fleet is in disarray but the Homeland Security hierarchy, most without Suppression experience, have ordered a new Hazmat unit and a Regional Rescue Squad. These units coupled with a Command Vehicle, Rescue boats, Jet Skis and a Multi-Casualty unit are supposed to assist us in a terrorist attack. A terrorist in Scotland blew up part of and shut down the airport with two gallons of gasoline. With no Fire Engines to put fires out we better hope they assault from the water. Lets hope the administration will vigorously prepare and plead our case at City Hall to obtain the money to acquire apparatus that is safe and effective to protect our men and women as well as the public. I was out at Central Shops checking on the new ALS Engine Companies that have been plagued with problems across the nation and was informed that the factory service representative that was attached to the SFFD for damage control resigned from his position, go figure. The new buggies A.K.A. pickup trucks, although Value Engineered seem to have come up short on the Code 3 response siren and lighting package ... hmmm more to follow.